LOCAL health campaigner Conor MacLiam will be running as a Socialist Party candidate in the upcoming general election.
His candidacy in the Carlow-Kilkenny constituency is part of a newly formed United Left Alliance which is running 14 candidates across the state, including Socialist MEP Joe Higgins.
Mr MacLiam has been campaigning for the building of a hospice and a day-care unit at St Luke's Hospital since the death of his wife, Susie Long, who came to national prominence following her diagnosis of bowel cancer after waiting seven months just to be tested.
The more he watched what was happening nationally, the more convinced he became that there was a better way to do things.
"In the last month as things became politically bad, it became clear that the Government and also the Opposition parties are all slipping into a consensus in regard to the need for austerity, in particular where bad debt is being foisted on us, the public," Mr MacLiam said, also noting "the fact that there was no one really that I know going for office here in Carlow/Kilkenny that is going to take a stance against that".
He had been involved with the Socialist Party before moving to Kilkenny 19 years ago, but had "more or less become inactive over a period of time because there is no branch in Kilkenny". Coincidentally, he says his daughter also joined the Socialist Party earlier this year in Dublin.
Regarding the chances of success for the United Left Alliance's 14 candidates, he said: "I really don't know; the situation is so volatile at the moment", although he said he heard a projection that six of them would be elected.
"Hopefully with Fianna Fail hitting 13%..." he added, in reference to the latest Red C poll results. "There is a huge upheaval that is taking place in thinking and outlook amongst the electorate. We are hoping that it reflects an understanding that what the establishment parties are doing is making the ordinary people pay for speculators, banks and developers."
"I decided to stand for election because I cannot sit back and watch further devastating attacks on the public health services being unleashed by this budget," Mr MacLiam said in a statement. "People without private insurance will pay with their health and indeed their lives for the wretched policies of this government. ... Ordinary working people, unemployed and pensioners did not create this crisis – we should not pay!"
"The cutback policies of all of the major parties will worsen the crisis further. Instead, we must repudiate the debt created by the banks, speculators and developers who have already made their billions in profits. I'm proud to stand as a United Left Alternative candidate because I think we need a block of Left TDs in the Dail who will not sell out by joining a new 'Coalition for Austerity' after this general election. They will be the real opposition in the next Dail to the slash-and-burn policies of the establishment."
Conor MacLiam, Socialist Party candidate for Carlow/Kilkenny.