Donal O'Cofaigh standing for re-election. Photo: CWI Ireland
Donal O'Cofaigh standing for re-election. Photo: CWI Ireland

Cross-Community Labour Alternative councillor and CWI member Donal O’Cofaigh is standing for re-election on 18 May to Fermanagh and Omagh District Council in Northern Ireland. Donal was elected in 2019 and has fought for socialist policies and an independent voice for the working class, in opposition to the sectarian and capitalist parties.

Since 2019, Militant Left member Donal O’Cofaigh has used his seat on Fermanagh-Omagh Council to unapologetically push for partial but significant wins that benefit working-class people.

These include: ending the council’s reliance on casual employment; freezes on charges to use council facilities; a package offering an above-inflation pay increase to council workers during the worst inflation in a generation; the defeat of plans that would have closed six play parks in Enniskillen town; some extra barriers in the local development plan to both fracking and gold mining; and, recently, a commitment to progress towards becoming an accredited ‘Living Wage’ employer – meaning that any business wanting to get a council contract or getting a council grant would have to pay its workers at least the Living Wage. It is a track record that few if any councillors in the establishment parties on any council in Northern Ireland could hope to match.

As a socialist, Donal has also used his position to raise support for broader trade union and social struggles. He has joined picket lines and brought motions of support for striking NHS and housing executive workers into the council. He has raised motions challenging the police in Northern Ireland on their heavy-handed policing of ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests in 2020. He has exposed corporate bosses cutting corners and even inaction by the Health and Safety Executive during the Covid pandemic. He has highlighted the behaviour of greedy bosses who shut down their businesses at the start of lockdown giving workers, often but not always foreign nationals, no redundancy whatsoever.

Given that he is a councillor in Fermanagh – the place suffering the worst crisis in the NHS – he has exposed failures; railed at privatisation; and, marshalled the council’s authority to challenge other public authorities. He secured council support for the demand for a public inquiry into the deaths in care homes due to Covid policies and another to investigate the disastrous Health Trust handling of the South West Acute Hospital surgical crisis.

Donal has also used the council as a platform to hammer the failure of Stormont departments on funding for schools, inadequate investment in public housing, water infrastructure, rail and the environment. He highlighted the total absence of emergency accommodation for women and children fleeing domestic abuse, and as a direct result secured a commitment from an embarrassed Stormont minister for four such units in Fermanagh.

Militant Left member Donal O’Cofaigh has shown that a socialist public representative always stands with the working class, regardless of the cost, and fights to win real results. Elect a fighter for working-class people. Elect Donal O’Cofaigh!