While Labour will hold its 65th national convention in NUI Galway this weekend, the United Left Alliance Galway will hold a counter-conference to take a critical look at Labour and discuss alternatives for the Irish left.
The ULA conference will take place in the Harbour Hotel tomorrow and Saturday and feature lectures, debates, and discussions on issues such as education, job creation, the economic crisis, and healthcare. Speakers will include trade union leaders, activists, elected representatives, and academics. The event is open to the public.
Conference organiser Conor McGuinness explained that the counter-conference is taking place to “mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Labour Party by Larkin and Connolly in 1912” and to “cast light on the betrayals made to their legacy by the current party leadership”.
“The ULA and this conference is providing a space,” said Mr McGuinness, “for political activists, former Labour members and supporters, trade unionists, working people, students, campaigners and all those affected by unemployment and austerity to gather together to build a new movement for ordinary people.”
The conference begins tomorrow at 12 noon and will run until 9.30pm. One of the events for the day is entitled Securing our Future: Defending Education which takes place at 2pm. This will be a public meeting to facilitate discussion between parents, students, teachers and campaigners on how best to tackle austerity cuts in the education sector.
At 4.30pm there will be discussion entitled The ECB, IMF and International Financial Crisis: Demystifying the Recession. This panel discussion will explaining the economics of the recession in an accessible and understandable way. The speakers will include Terrence McDonough, Professor of Economics at NUI Galway and debt and development expert Vicky Donnelly.
Tomorrow’s events conclude at 7.30pm with 100 Years of Labour: Time for a New Working Class Party?
Historian Emmet O’Connor of the University of Ulster will discuss the achievements and failures of Labour over the last 100 years. Jimmy Kelly, regional secretary of the UNITE trade union will also participate in the discussion, speaking about the need for working people to represent themselves in both the workplace and in politics.
Saturday’s events run from 12 noon to 9.30pm and will hear discussions on healthcare; the impact of the recession and austerity on women; abortion; protest; job creation; and the Irish language. The closing rally at 7.30pm will be discussion entitled Defeating the Household Charge, Defeating the Referendum.
All members of the public are welcome and invited to attend. For more information see ULAGalway.org