Wednesday 26 July 2017

Creighton, Ganley meeting fuels new party rumours

Declan Ganley and Lucinda Creighton clashed during Lisbon Treaty campaign
Declan Ganley and Lucinda Creighton clashed during Lisbon Treaty campaign
Lucinda Creighton
Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

LUCINDA Creighton has fuelled speculation about the setting up of a new political party after meeting with her one-time opponent on EU issues, Declan Ganley.

The former European affairs minister and the former Libertas leader were spotted talking in the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, along with political activist John McGurk, last week.

Ms Creighton accused Mr Ganley during the Lisbon Treaty referendum of telling "lies" to the public – an allegation he obviously denied.

Not for the first time, the Reform Alliance and rebel Fine Gael TD has caused ripples with her encounters with other prominent figures not aligned to other parties.

Just a fortnight after her departure as a junior minister over the abortion legislation, Ms Creighton had lunch with former justice minister Michael McDowell.

Ms Creighton took Mr McDowell's seat in the Dail in 2007, yet the pair ended up campaigning together against the abolition of the Seanad.

Ms Creighton flatly denies there was any political motivation behind the meeting with Mr Ganley last Wednesday.

"No, we're not forming a party," she told the Irish Independent.

Ms Creighton has previously been on the opposite side of debates on the EU to Mr Ganley.

But they found common cause in their opposition to the abortion legislation, which cost Ms Creighton her junior ministry and saw her expelled from the Fine Gael parliamentary party.

"I bumped into John McGurk in the Shelbourne and joined them for a cup of tea. It's not the first time I have had coffee with Declan Ganley," she said.

The pair clashed in that campaign with Ms Creighton questioning if Mr Ganley's opposition to the vote was motivated by the involvement of his company, Rivada Networks, in the provision of US military equipment and intelligence.

Mr Ganley dismissed the suggestion and repeatedly pointed to his patriotic interest in the future of the country.

Mr McGurk was a Fine Gael activist who campaigned for Ms Creighton in the 2007 General Election.

He left the party and campaigned with Mr Ganley in the 2008 Lisbon Treaty referendum. He has been working with the businessman ever since.

Mr McGurk said: "Declan is very focused on his business and will be for the future. He wants to keep involved in the public debate."

Within political circles, there has been a great deal of speculation about the future intentions of a number of high-profile figures, with the establishment of a centre-right, socially conservative, fiscally responsible and reform-oriented party being mooted.

Irish Independent

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