Creighton accuses political opponents of trying to 'undermine' Reform efforts
Published 25/01/2014 | 10:37
Lucinda Creighton has accused her political opponents of trying to "undermine" the efforts of the Reform Alliance and has pledged to hold further meetings across the country.
The former European Affairs Minister received a standing ovation after defending the decision by rebel Fine Gael politicians to vote against the abortion legislation.
Ms Creighton gave the final speech at today's so-called 'Monster Rally' at the RDS and pledged to stage "regular meetings" in the coming months.
She took several digs at "parts of the media" and accused one national newspaper of having an agenda against the Reform Alliance.
Economist David McWilliams was among the key note speakers at the event, which was attended by more than 1,000 people.
Ms Creighton said that she believed those criticising the Reform Alliance are "worried" about the group's progress.
"As David McWilliams said, there are three stages. The first stage is where people laugh at you and completely dismiss you," she said.
"The next stage is when people sneer at you and try to undermine you and we've had plenty of that in the last few weeks and we expect that to continue but I suppose it's a sign that maybe people are a little bit worried," she added.
Ms Creighton was critical of one national newspaper who she said has taken a stance which is opposed to her decision to vote against the abortion legislation.
Asked whether the Reform Alliance will be staging further events, Ms Creighton said:
"We will be holding regional meetings there's no doubt about it. But we certainly won't be calling them monster meetings, nor have we called this a monster meeting. But we'll certainly be going to different parts of the country, there's no doubt."
The former European Affairs Minister has said the turn out at today's Reform Alliance conference "exceeds all expectations".
She insisted that the group is not looking at becoming a new political party "at the moment", adding that the conference is nothing more than a "listening exercise".
"It's just not something we're focusing on at all at the movement. We are really trying to talk about new politics, and not new parties'
She said they are "about trying to persuade, not coerce".
She said the interaction at the event was 'stimulating' and said people need to decide 'what sort of republic we want to design'.
Over 1,000 people have filled the RDS in Dublin for the event, which has been dubbed by some as a 'Monster Rally'.
Broadcasters Tom McGurk and Olivia O'Leary held a discussion on political reform, which was followed by a lively discussion involving delegates.
Broadcaster Tom McGuirk spoke out and said political patronage has to end.
Meanwhile, broadcaster Olivia O’Leary said it was worrying that there were so few females at the event.
However, the Reform Alliance members have been unable to avoid questions about their apparent intentions to form a new political party.
Ms Creighton insisted that it is not on the cards for the time being, however, Galway Senator Fidelma Healy-Eames told Independent.ie that a party could be formed in the future.
Ms Healy-Eames said the hundreds of people in attendance have expressed an interest in becoming part of a "movement of reform".
"Let's face it. As God said, 'the people get the history they deserve'. If we want change we have to do something different. If we keep doing the same things, nothing changes."
The conference was opened by Wicklow TD and Alliance member, Billy Timmins, who paid tribute to the late detective garda Adrian Donohoe.
"This is a great country capable of producing great deeds. And today we particularly remember the late detective garda Adrian Donohoe whose first anniversary occurs. We want to remember him today'" Mr Timmins said.
Former Fine Gael TD Denis Naughten said: "People are excited about today because we have politicians who are actually looking for the views of members of the public, who want to hear their ideas, who want to hear their suggestions, rather than which is normally the other way round, where politicians are telling people what they want to hear."