A meeting took place in March between representatives of the Communist Party of Ireland and the United Left Alliance. It was organised at the request of Mick O’Reilly (of Unite and the Dublin Trades Council), who attended the meeting. The CPI was represented by Eugene McCartan and Tom Redmond and the ULA by Eddie Conlon of People Before Profit and Kevin McLoughlin of the Socialist Party.
The CPI welcomed the electoral formation of the ULA and congratulated them on their success with the election of five TDs. The CPI has always been in favour of united working-class action and of promoting unity. It instanced the meetings in November and December on a trades council initiative to bring the left together, when the CPI was the only party to have attended all three meetings. While not contesting the elections, it had urged support for voting left, which included the ULA, Sinn Féin, and progressive individuals.
It had also initiated a campaign demanding repudiation of the so-called sovereign debt and urging support for a referendum on the issue. The campaign was now a public one, and individuals and organisation were being asked to promote it.
The ULA explained that their coming together was to promote an anti-capitalist front with a credible alternative voting programme. They were pleased with the results and envisaged campaigns both inside and outside the Dáil against the coalition’s austerity measures. The aim was to build a working-class party comprising initially the existing groups and the individuals who helped the election teams around the country.
They realised it would take time to discuss and agree both a political programme and a structure to satisfy the diverse components.
The CPI stressed that its concept of the left was wider than that of the ULA, as it entailed an anti-imperialist content, for example in relation to the European Union, and a political attitude to forces such as Sinn Féin. The ULA accepted that there were di_erences between approaches: for example, they did not consider the Labour Party or Sinn Féin part of the left.
The exchange of views was friendly, fraternal, and useful, the CPI stating that there were no enemies on the left, only rivals.
The ULA stated that when a programme and ideas of structures were more advanced they would present any position papers to the CPI.