Seanad Éireann Election
I am seeking your support for David Begg who is contesting a seat in Seanad Éireann on the NUI panel.
As you know David has been an active trade unionist all his working life. After he left school he became an electrician, worked in the ESB and became active in the then ETU. He went on to become a trade union representative with the ESBOA. Later, he became General Secretary of the CWU and oversaw the very successful merger between the postal and telecommunications worker's unions. After that he served as Chief Executive of Concern - a role which saw him advocating for underprivileged and oppressed people across the globe.
In 2001, he became General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU). In that capacity, he fought valiantly to get the right to collective bargaining enshrined in law. While he did not succeed he led the negotiations which resulted in the '2004 Act' but it was subsequently struck out by the Supreme Court. Ultimately, he led the ICTU team that engaged with the government on what became the '2015 Act'.
His other priority was the establishment of a national second pillar pension for all workers. On that project he has not succeeded yet - but continues to battle on.
David led the ICTU against the background of the biggest economic collapse in any developed country in the world since the Wall Street crash of 1929. They were the toughest years in the history of the movement. Yet thanks to him the unity of our movement was preserved, north and south, and despite a great deal of misery working people are getting through it better than in any of the other 'Programme Countries’.
It is rarely acknowledged that David was one of the few who warned against the potential for the collapse of the credit fuelled property bubble as far back as 2002. His warnings were of course dismissed. Indeed, they were described as the utterances of 'left wing pinkos' seeking to destroy the party.
Seanad Éireann will assume greater importance in the context of a hung Dáil. The other side are lining up their spokespeople - including some who were instrumental in promoting the winner take all policies that brought about the collapse in the first place. It is vitally important that we have a voice for fair and sustainable development, in the interests of working people and their families. There is no more coherent voice than that of David Begg.
Ballot papers will issue on 21st March. All NUI graduates are entitled to vote. While you may not be a graduate you may know someone who is one. Please encourage them to use their vote for David Begg and transfer their second preference to Alice Mary Higgins.
Yours in solidarity
16th March, 2016