SOCIALIST JOE HIGGINS WINS EURO SEAT IN IRELAND
Joe Higgins, the Socialist Party candidate in Ireland (CWI Ireland), was elected to the Dublin Constituency for the European Parliament at around 5.15am this morning.
Joe, who is a member of CWI in Ireland, got 82,366 votes, with 50,510 first preference votes. He received 22,201 second preference votes from the eliminated Sein Fein candidate. Over the last few days, Joe Higgins was widely predicted in the Irish press to be best placed to take the third of three European Parliament seats in Dublin.
He told the Irish TV network that he would "serve the needs of ordinary people in the EU", and that his appointment was bad news for corporate Europe and the big business culture of the European parliament. He said his election was a very positive result for working class people in Europe.
Higgins was branded the "only honest member" of the Irish parliament, when he held his Dublin seat until his seat was eliminated in 2007. He received widespread publicity for his exposes of corruption. His most significant victory was struck, together with the Socialist Party in Ireland for the Gama workers, the super-exploited building workers who were not being paid their wages.
The Irish Socialist Party reports: Joe Higgins is a long time activist in the labour and trade union movement. Elected to Dublin County Council in 1991, he was a leading fighter against corrupt land rezoning in Dublin and for planning in the interests of communities rather than for speculators and major developers.
Joe Higgins was the Chair of the Federation of Dublin Anti Water Charges Campaign which won massive support and forced the Fine Gael/Labour Government to abolish water charges in December 1996. Minister for Social Welfare, Mary Hanafin, said last year that had abolition not happened, each household in Dublin would be currently paying €700 per year in water charges.
Joe Higgins was elected to the Dail in 1997 and for the next ten years was a leading opponent of the right wing policies of the Fianna Fail/Progressive Democrat Government. He frequently challenged the then Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Bertie Ahern, on a wide range of issues including land speculation and profiteering in the housing market, Government support for the invasion and occupation of Iraq and in defence of workers' rights.
In 2003 Joe Higgins was sent to Mountjoy Jail for a month over his opposition to Bin Tax, a new stealth tax on Dublin householders.
In 2005, with the Socialist Party, he exposed the horrific abuse of migrant workers by Gama Construction and struck a major blow against the 'race to the bottom' when that company was forced to pay unpaid wages of around €30million to its workers.
Joe Higgins was a key Leader of the opposition to the Lisbon Treaty last year because it would facilitate further privatisation of crucial services like Health, push the militarisation of the EU, increase arms spending and institutionalise the right of bad employers to attack agreed wages and conditions for entire industries.