Left wing TD's and union leaders and activists have met in Dublin to discuss a common platform for the next election.

The conference was organised by the Right2Water group of trade unions which includes the Communications Workers Union, the CPSU, Mandate and Unite.

Socialist party TD's Joe Higgins, Paul Murphy and Ruth Coppinger attended as did Richard Boyd Barrett, Catherine Murphy, Clare Daly and Joan Collins.

Sinn Féin was represented by Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan and Senator David Cullinane and a number of councillors.

Steve Fitzpatrick, General Secretary of the Communications Workers Union said the group wants to develop policies and principles which can be endorsed by left wing parties and TD's, Independents, Sinn Féin and disaffected Labour party supporters.

He hoped the group will be able endorse candidates who sign up to its principles and so offer people an alternative to what he described as the ‘tweedle dum and tweedle dee’ of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

He said left wing parties have not come together because of their inability to work together but he hoped this initiative will help them to support each other.

He said that the next stage will be meetings around the country to hear from people at branch level and in their own communities.

He said groups had come together in other European countries such as Greece and Spain and he did not see why it could not happen here.