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Labour set to hold annual conference this weekend

Labour is set to hold its annual conference this weekend with the party seeking to promote its policies before the local and European elections in June and the general election due within a year.

The party will take part in a housing symposium at the EPIC Museum in Dublin city centre this evening before its conference officially takes place tomorrow and Sunday at the Helix in Dublin City University.

A total of 89 motions have been tabled by party members on issues including housing, health, climate action, workers’ rights and last year’s Dublin riots.

Motions calling for the creation of €9 monthly climate transport ticket to encourage people to use public transport instead of private cars and others seeking what Labour says is the need for the full separation of church and State on issues like the National Maternity Hospital will also be heard.

This evening’s event is also expected to see the official launch of Dublin Bay North TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin’s European Parliament elections campaign for the Dublin constituency.

In January, Mr Ó Ríordáin defeated Labour senator Annie Hoey and Fingal County Council councillor Rob O’Donoghue to be chosen as the party’s candidate in the constituency.

In a statement, Mr Ó Ríordáin said he is running because “we cannot afford to have another Government mouthpiece or Kremlin acolyte” and criticised the “regressive politics” of European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

The party has also confirmed it will run Limerick sociologist Niamh Hourigan in Ireland South and another candidate, widely expected to be Fergal Landy, in Midlands-North West.

Labour did not win any of Ireland’s 13 MEP seats in 2019.

The European Parliament elections take place on 7 June, the same day as the local elections, with Labour confirming it has already chosen 97 candidates to run for county council and city council seats.

The figure is almost double the 55 seats held by Labour at local council level, but far below its 132-seat haul in 2009.

Labour’s annual conference is taking place after Leo Varadkar revealed on Wednesday he is stepping down as Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader, with party leader Ivana Bacik saying this week a new Taoiseach means a general election should take place.

Recent opinion polls have consistently suggested Labour’s support is at between 3% and 4%.

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