Renua gets €250,000 in State funding a year despite returning no TDs
Published 05/09/2016 | 02:30
Renua is the "only party in Ireland that doesn't want a general election" as it continues to receive €250,000 annual State funding for the lifetime of this Government.
The fledgling party was an 'also-ran' in February but with money in the bank and a new leader, it is now set for a second role of the dice.
Offaly councillor John Leahy, who took over the leadership at the weekend, clearly believes that there is life after Lucinda.
He knows he can't rewrite history but in his first interview says the remaining three councillors can reimagine the party.
"We were portrayed as right-wing and as Fine Gael-lite. It was never designed that way and I never got into a party whereby I felt it was Fine Gael-lite or Fianna Fáil-lite, I felt I was getting involved in a new political party," he told the Irish Independent.
"I could never get my head around why we were branded that way. But I can see now it was because of Lucinda."
Although they failed to get any TDs elected, their 26 candidates did manage to collect more than 2pc of the national vote, meaning they qualify for State funding for the first time.
"It's €250,000 a year for every year that the Government lasts, so we're the only political party that doesn't want a General Election. We want to find our feet a bit," he said.
From that money, the party has approved a salary of €65,000 for Leahy to work as a full-time politician, who will travel the country and build a base in as many constituencies as possible.
Their target audience is the "squeezed middle" who Leahy believes "just don't have enough".
"We're going to be thinking differently, we're going to be acting differently and we're going to be brave.
"We were brave with the flat tax because we felt it was about rewarding work. We will continue to go down that line," he says.
The membership, which still includes around 15 general election candidates, will sit down over the next two months to draw up new policies but a form of its controversial flat tax plan is likely to remain.