Credit: Aontú

Aontú launches largest-ever candidate team in NI ahead of local elections next week

Aontú will launch their party’s local election 2023 Manifesto on Tuesday night, 9 May, at 4pm in West Belfast, ahead of Northern Ireland’s local council elections.

The all-Ireland political party is fielding its largest candidate team ever in Northern Ireland, ahead of local elections in the six counties, which take place on 18 May.

The last local elections were held in 2019 in Northern Ireland, during which Aontú nominated 16 candidates across 7 of the 11 local councils. In that election, it won one seat, Anne McCloskey, in Ballyarnett DEA on Derry and Strabane Council, who was later replaced by Cllr Emmet Doyle.

Several months after that election, in July 2019, Cllr Denise Mullen, a councillor for the SDLP in Mid Ulster, resigned from the party to join Aontú.

The launch, which will take place in the Devenish Hotel, comes at a time when the North is “hungry for change,” according to the party.

“For change, change your vote,” the party said on social media this week.
In a statement sent to Gript, leader Peadar Tóibín said that the party was contesting the elections to win council seats, and that he believed the lack of political vision from the other parties was an issue for voters.

“Aontú will field our largest candidate team ever in the North of Ireland. I am extremely proud of the quality of these candidates,” Mr Tóibín said.

“These are articulate and able men and women from all walks of life, who have shown massive dedication to their communities. Aontú is contesting these elections to win council seats across the north of Ireland. We do so from a much stronger position in terms of quality candidates, public support, and strength of grass roots organisation”.

The Meath West TD pointed to a “major political and economic crisis” in Northern Ireland, with families suffering as a result.

“This election takes place in the middle of a major political and economic crisis. Families are being hammered by the ever-increasing Cost of Living.

“Sustained high inflation is doing untold damage to the very fabric of families and communities. Public services are shedding key health and education services and the North is looking down the barrel of an austerity budget from the British Government,” he said.

“Shockingly the only political action we have had from the 5 Stormont parties since the Stormont Elections is for Sinn Féin, the DUP, the SDLP, the UUP and the Alliance to hike up Rates at Council Bills for families. This is a punch in the stomach to families who are struggling on overdrafts, credit cards or in the clutches of money lenders.

“How is it acceptable that in the jaws of a Cost of Living Crisis, the Stormont Political Establishment do not turn up for work, yet take a wage and at council drastically hike up rates on struggling families”.

He also highlighted an apparent “lack of political debate, political vision, and accountability” across the leadership of all parties in the North – pointing to the recent Leaders Debate in the run-up to the elections next Thursday.

“In the midst of all of this there has been an incredible lack of political debate, political vision and accountability from the leadership of all the political parties,” he said.

Aontú has written to all of the leaders of the political parties inviting them to a public debate on the life and death issues affecting the people. Alliance Leader Naomi Long has responded and stated that she would endeavour to participate in a public leaders’ debate. We urge all the remaining leaders to step up and make themselves available to debate the future of the North of Ireland,” Mr Tóibín said.

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