The people should be centre-stage when it come to decisions, Boyd Barrett

by Cóilín Duffy
Richard Boyd Barrett TD says the social housing target is “hopelessly inadequate" and won't meet demand

Richard Boyd Barrett is keen to stress the message which is contained in his party’s name, that it’s about people before profit.

The Solidarity-PBP Leader contests the Dun Laoghaire constituency once again this weekend, and says that people should be centre stage, when it comes to decision-making.

“I do think the problem that lies behind many of the crises that we face in Irish society at the moment is an economic system – the major political parties putting profit over the major needs of society,” he told Dublin Gazette.

“Whether it is in the area of housing; whether it is the two-tier of a semi-privatised healthcare system; whether it is the unbalanced distribution of wealth, where a small minority control most of the wealth and huge numbers of people are struggling.

“At many other levels you can see that profit is prioritised by the political establishment over the needs of people.

“We want to move in the opposite direction.

“We think people have the right to affordable housing, to a decent healthcare system, to properly resourced education, or indeed other things like special needs and disability, public transport.

“I think that can only happen if we start meeting people’s needs – the services and the rights that they have, rather than the profits of corporations or vulture funds.”

Smaller parties such as PBP have made great strides in recent years against the more established forces.

When asked if he would prefer to be in or out of Government, Boyd-Barrett said that the key thing is staying true to your beliefs.

“It’s neither of those things,” he said.

“It’s about sticking to your convictions, whether you are in government, or in opposition; or indeed whether you are the school students out on the streets protesting.

“Frankly, the school students have been as effective, if not more effective than the politicians in driving the climate agenda.

“We saw it with the water movement, and we saw it with Repeal the 8th. It’s not just about being in government or being a minister.

“It’s about sticking to principles and convictions whether you are inside or outside the Dáil, or whether you are inside or outside government and driving an agenda for progressive change.”

Many national issues in this election are also local ones, and Boyd-Barrett sees it no differently, with housing a key priority for his constituents.

“Housing and public housing are key issues,” he said.

“Rents that are affordable for people – the whole picture around housing is one of the biggest crises if not the biggest crisis.

“The shambolic state of the health service and the inequity in terms of accessing healthcare, whether you are public or private – that inequality has to go.

“The cost of living for people working very hard, but having absolutely nothing at the end of the month because of unfair taxes, charges and rising bills, has to be addressed.

“Then obviously climate change is in existential threat to all of us.

“The government’s record has been diabolical in taking the sort of radical measures that are necessary to deal with the climate emergency.”

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