THE only sitting TD elected at the last general election and going forward for election in Cork North Central has said that he is in “a serious fight” to hold on to his seat.
Last time out, Solidarity’s Mick Barry received 8,041 first preference votes and was the second TD elected. Mr Barry has said it will be more difficult to hold the seat this time around.
“What we find is that there has been warm support for the campaign in the last week, but we’re under no illusions,” he said. “We are in a serious fight to hold this seat.
“In 2016 we surged to a seat on the crest of the wave of the anti-water charges movement. There isn’t a movement of its kind at this time and it makes it more of a challenge for a left candidate.
“However, we feel that there are a sufficient number of people who want to see a strong voice for ordinary working-class people, a strong left voice, representing them in the Dáil. If they come out to vote we can do it, but it’s going to be a real hard fight.”
Mr Barry detailed some of his key campaign themes, including a tax on the wealthiest to fund health and housing, standing up for workers’ rights, campaigning against fracked gas in Cork Harbour, and the introduction of anti-eviction legislation.
Mr Barry’s Anti-Eviction Bill had been held up for around 15 months by the Government, a situation he said is “partly down to the landlord lobby, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael TDs who don’t want to see progressive legislation of this kind passed”.
The legislation would have seen evictions banned on the grounds of sale or refurbishment, but will now have to be reintroduced due to the dissolution of the Dáil.
“There are hundreds and possibly even thousands of people who are in emergency accommodation and homeless today who would be in their homes if that legislation had been passed,” said Mr Barry. “We want to be back in the next Dáil for many reasons, but one of them is to pursue that particular piece of legislation.”