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Former Siptu President Jack O'Connor selected as Labour candidate for Wicklow

Trade unionist Jack O'Connor has been selected as a Labour Party candidate in Wicklow to contest the next General Election.

Mr O'Connor was the long-serving general president at Siptu but he stepped down last December.

At a Selection Convention in the Glenview Hotel, Mr O'Connor spoke about a number of issues including housing, employment and the Eighth Amendment.

"Investment in high-quality public services and the provision of decent secure long-term jobs are the key to a better, fairer future," said Mr O'Connor.

[quote]We cannot afford to be putting hundreds of millions away in a so called “Rainy Day” fund either, when it's bucketing down on our public housing, healthcare, education and childcare services.[/quote]

"Parallel with this we must prioritise decent secure long term jobs instead of the growing phenomenon of insecure precarious work, by increasing public investment in scientific research, supporting new companies subject to a quality employment standard, focussing on continuous re-skilling of our workforce for the age of digitalisation and legislating for the right to representation at work for all who wish to avail of it."

Mr O'Connor also described the housing waiting list increase as shocking, while adding that "there is no plan for major development of the strategically important ports of Rosslare, Arklow or Wicklow even in the light of the imminence of Brexit."

In relation to the Eighth Amendment Mr O'Connor called for a Yes vote in the Referendum while emphasising respect for those who differ.

[quote]It is not about imposing our view on others. It is about accommodating the diversity of views on this extremely complex and sensitive issue. [/quote]

"We opposed its insertion in the Constitution in the first place and for a long time we were the only significant political party to commit to its removal in our manifesto."

He concluded at the selection convention by saying:

"While the Labour Party made mistakes in the last Government, we ensured that we regained our economic sovereignty and set in train a dramatic economic recovery, while preserving the core infrastructure of our social welfare system, avoiding a sell off of state assets and preserving as well as enhancing our employment protection legislation.

"As a result there is a unique opportunity for the People of Ireland to break with the failed policies of the past and forge a better, fairer future in a New Republic based on the core values of Equality and Economic Justice for all, as we approach the advent of the second century since independence.

"It is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss."