Jim O’Connell, PBPA spokesperson in Cork South Central, is calling on the people of Ireland to take part in a social revolution that he says has been sparked by the YES Equality campaign and the anti-water charges movement.
Commenting on the overwhelming victory for equality in the marriage equality referendum, Jim pointed also to the surge in left-wing votes in the recent elections in Belfast and Carlow-Kilkenny as evidence that the people of Ireland are calling loudly for change.
“Minister Varadkar described the Yes vote as a social movement, well I would argue that a social revolution has been taking place and building strength in Ireland for well over a year now”, said Jim.
“We in PBPA, and all across the Left, have been working on the ground with people who are rejecting both the government and austerity through their fight against the water metres and charges. We have been working with people who want more affordable housing, more equal education, an accessible and functioning health service. We have been watching and helping this social movement grow and catch fire for a long time now, the minister and his cronies are coming very late to the game – but what’s new?”
Pointing to the huge numbers of people using the referendum to join the electoral register and to those abroad taking the time to come home to vote, Jim said that this huge turnout showed more clearly than ever that the Irish people care very deeply about their country and how it functions politically.
“People didn’t just vote for marriage equality , they voted in their hundreds and thousands for change – real, positive change that eradicates barriers, prejudice and unfairness.”
“If we can come together to say a resounding no to unfairness in marriage laws, then we can come together and say no to unfairness in income equality, unfairness in housing equality, unfairness in education equality, and unfairness in health equality.”
“We need to build on this social capital and immediately move to repeal the 8th amendment as the next step in this revolution.”
“This is not just a social movement, it is a social revolution. The citizens of Ireland know what it feels like to use their vote and affect real change now. It’s not going to stop here, this movement for equality is taking the revolution right to the gates of Leinster House, and I, and the rest of PBPA and the Left, will be right in the midst of it.”