Monday 25 September 2017

Radical political troika eyes chance of Dail seat

IF THERE’S ICE CREAM, IT’S A PARTY: Lucinda Creighton, David Hall and Stephen Donnelly. Photo: David Conachy
IF THERE’S ICE CREAM, IT’S A PARTY: Lucinda Creighton, David Hall and Stephen Donnelly. Photo: David Conachy

John Drennan Political Editor

In a week where a Millward Brown poll revealed that 53 per cent of the electorate want a new political party, a radical political troika was unveiled to the electorate of Dublin West.

It came when Lucinda Creighton, David Hall and Stephen Donnelly canvassed on behalf of Mr Hall for the vacant Dublin West Dail seat.

All three come from very different political back-grounds but Ms Creighton told the Sunday Independent "we are united by the need to get fresh thinking into the Dail to deal with old problems in new ways''.

Poll Analysis page 4

For Ms Creighton, the decision to publicly canvass for Mr Hall was particularly significant; given that it is the first time she has canvassed for a non-Fine Gael candidate in an election.

In the wake of her political rapprochement with the former PD leader Michael McDowell, her move will be seen as representing a significant attempt by the Alliance to move away from its genesis as a rump of rebel FG TDs.

The presence of Mr Donnelly on the canvas also represents a significant thawing of the previously tense relations between the Alliance and Mr Donnelly.

Ms Creighton's move comes in the wake of consistent poll results indicating Ireland's disillusioned voters are moving towards Sinn Fein in the absence of any compelling alternative.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, the former junior minister said "my decision to support David is an example of the new politics we are trying to build''.

Intriguingly, Mr Hall's own original political provenance is a Fianna Fail one. Earlier in the year the mortgage arrears advocate was being tipped to run for the European Parliament as a FF candidate.

However, Ms Creighton noted, "David is an independent and informed voice who has articulated the concerns of the coping classes in a consistently passionate fashion''.

She said the unique troika was "an example of the post-civil war politics we are trying to build, where ideas rather than the dead hand of a party whip drives politics''.

This, she said, "is what a new movement for ideas represents in action, those of us who have banded together for this campaign have very different philosophies, but we are united in the recognition that this is a state whose citizens are crying out for radical reform. Creating a politics that will fulfil this necessity is our common purpose''.

Mr Hall told the Sunday Independent: "It is my hope that next Saturday will be 'Independents' Day' across a range of elections, we need a new breeze in Irish politics that is practical, that connects with the people.''

Mr Donnelly said: "The problems we face require iconic independent thinkers and doers like Lucinda and David Hall, not party hacks''. He said he was "delighted with the opportunity to work with Lucinda for David; he has fought very hard for the citizens already, I believe he will do a lot more in the Dail if elected''.

Mr Hall has also secured the support of Roisin Shortall, the former Labour Health Minister, Nessa Childers and Shane Ross among others.

Despite their varied back-grounds, the troika were very comfortable together on their joint canvass.

All were scathing of the Government's initiative to subsidise mortgages, with Mr Hall noting "this is bonkers, it is the economics of 2003; someone in Finance found an old book and said let's try that again''.

Mr Donnelly said: "It is economic and financial madness, one individual with me thought it was a sketch from 'Callan's Kicks'. I could not convince them that it was the actual Minister for Finance saying this stuff."

Ms Creighton said: "It is a stunt, this is fiscally dangerous, it is the old Fianna Fail trick of matching goodies to electoral cycles.''

Sunday Independent

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