– Party co-leaders Catherine Murphy TD and Róisín Shortall TD set out ambition to make their social democratic vision a reality at fourth annual conference

Social Democrats co-leaders Catherine Murphy TD and Róisín Shortall TD today set out their vision for the party and Irish society, stating that their aim is to be the party for a better Ireland.

They made their leaders’ address at the conclusion of the Social Democrats’ 4th annual conference, ‘Time to Transform’, which took place online yesterday and today.

Róisín Shortall TD told the conference:

“Last year, we trebled our number of TDs, and that is our ambition – to again treble our numbers in the next election. We want to build our party’s strength so that we can provide an authentic alternative, a social democratic alternative to the stale and regressive politics which hold back our country.

Deputy Shortall also set out how Covid-19 has exposed huge weaknesses in how public services are provided in this country.

She added:

“FF and FG are content to have an arms-length relationship with public services, abdicating responsibility for providing them. They have this warped view that public services are just for those who can’t afford to pay for them.

“Contrast that with the social democratic view of the world, which believes in the social contract, where everyone is expected to pay their taxes according to their means and, in return, everyone has access to good quality universal public services.”

In her address, Catherine Murphy TD laid out the vision of the party, which, she said, “looks beyond the next election – it looks to the next generation”.

She said that another major area of weakness further exposed by Covid-19 is that of housing.

Deputy Murphy stated:

“Bringing down the cost of housing is fundamental for us. To do this, we would seek to take speculation out of housing. A referendum needs to be held at the earliest possible date in 2021. A successful referendum would allow for the implementation of the Kenny report. As far back as the 1970s, this report identified land hoarding and the speculation of zoned land as central to the cost of housing, yet it has remained unimplemented.”

Deputy Murphy also made a call for the separation of Church and State, and for a citizens’ assembly to be established to look at the role of religion in areas like health, education and public life. This, she said, would be done in the “respectful, deliberative and evidence-based way, which has been the hallmark of citizens’ assemblies to date”.

February 27, 2021

Back to all Posts