AMID growing discontent within the ranks of Fine Gael over the abortion issue, speculation is mounting that dissident members have been in talks with former Libertas leader Declan Ganley about forming a new party.
Earlier this week Fine Gael’s former leader John Bruton broke ranks with Fine Gael by personally stating that the Government’s proposed abortion legislation is contrary to the Constitution.
Fine Gael Junior Minister Lucinda Creighton also expressed opposition to her party’s plans to legislate for the X case and was preparing an alternative legislation which would exclude suicide as reason for abortion.
Speaking to the Sunday Independent, Mr Ganley said the abortion debate had the potential to be the issue that drives him back into politics.
“When you see huge promises being broken on ‘not one more cent to bondholders’ or on abortion, it puts it up there in the light that this needs to be addressed,” he said.
“There isn't two weeks that go by that there isn't some type of contact with somebody.
“There would be little point in doing it if you didn't have heavy calibre individuals involved.
“I'm not interested in ever going out there and making a symbolic stand. You need top drawer people and that takes time.” Speaking at a pro-life meeting organised by the Life Institute in the Red Cow Hotel in Dublin, Mr Ganley told activists that he was considering a return to politics.
SAVITA REPORT ANALYSIS PAGE 21 The businessman, who is staunchly pro-life, began his speech in front of around 50 Life Institute members by thanking Mr Bruton and Ms Creighton for opposing their party's stance on abortion legislation.
He said: “I would like to acknowledge the courage of John Bruton and Lucinda Creighton for taking on and tackling this issue within Fine Gael and rowing against what was becoming a little bit of a tide. I want to mark my admiration for the stand they both took.” The entrepreneur told those gathered that people cannot allow the State to begin “franchising lethal power” by putting individual life beyond the protection of due process and into the hands of private individuals and abortion clinics.
Life Institute director Niamh Ui Bhriain said her organisation had collected 30,000 pledges from members of the public who said they would never vote for Fine Gael again if the party voted through legislation for the X case.
A Fine Gael source said the party had been hearing rumours about potential parties being set up by Mr Ganley and former PD Michael McDowell for two years.
He said: “Both seem to want to get back into politics, but Ganley has never been elected and McDowell only won three out of six he contested.
Politics is harder than it looks.” Mr Ganley refused to comment on whether he was in discussion with members of any political party.
Fine Gael also said it had no comment to make.