Irish News

Friday 25 July 2014

Lucinda warned about perils of starting new party

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

Published 30/12/2013|02:30

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Lucinda Creighton
Lucinda Creighton

THE government chief whip has warned Lucinda Creighton and her Reform Alliance colleagues that they will find it very difficult to establish a new political party.

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Paul Kehoe, who is a member of Cabinet, insisted that the group of Fine Gael rebels would face a tough challenge to generate the necessary finances.

It has emerged that newly formed Reform Alliance has recently registered as a 'third party' with Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO).

The move is significant as it means the group of five TDs and two senators can now start to raise funds for policy and research purposes.

Ms Creighton, who lost her post as European Affairs Minister after voting against the abortion legislation, has been vocal about the need for a new political party.

While Ms Creighton has not yet confirmed that she will be involved in setting up such an organisation, she has strongly hinted that she does not want to remain an independent.

"You have freedom in what you can say as an independent, but there is also strength in numbers. I am a great believer in party politics," she said.

She told the Sunday Independent that she would like to "work together" with the respected Independent TD Stephen Donnelly -- leading to suggestions that he could be involved in setting up a new party after the local elections.

Mr Donnelly has said he would be open to holding discussions with Ms Creighton and her Reform Alliance colleagues.

REFORM

"I would entertain a discussion. I am not sitting here waiting, but I'll listen, he said.

"There is most undoubtedly a need for a new party, the current system is so old, stale and so badly in need of reform."

However, chief whip Paul Kehoe warned: "Setting up a new party, as the Taoiseach has said, requires a huge amount of hard work, and more hard work and more hard work, and financial assistance but that's up to themselves if they want to do that," he said.

Mr Kehoe was responsible for writing to six Reform Alliance members to inform them that they had been expelled from the Fine Gael parliamentary party for voting against the contentious abortion legislation.

Mr Kehoe said the only function withheld from the Reform Alliance is the opportunity to address the Taoiseach, Tanaiste or nominated minister during Leader's Questions.

Irish Independent

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