News John Downing

Monday 22 September 2014

Plans for political rally already generating a much-needed buzz

Published 06/01/2014 | 02:30

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Saturday dawn new beginning. Lucinda Creighton Fidelma Healy Eames and Terence Flanagan meet outside before Reform Alliance think in ku in Buswells Hotel.
Picture By David Conachy.
Lucinda Creighton and Terence Flanagan of the Reform Alliance, which is to host a so-called ‘monster rally’ at the RDS in Dublin later this month. Photo: David Conachy

ALL eyes will be on the RDS in Dublin on the last Saturday of this month, when Lucinda Creighton's 'Reform Alliance' will hold its so-called 'Monster Rally'.

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Political enthusiasts of an older generation will hark back to December 1985 when, after months of speculation, Des O'Malley launched the Progressive Democrats.

The PDs had as many lows as it had highs over its 24-year history, but it made a huge mark on Irish politics and, for a time, spoke effectively to the need for lower taxation and other reforms.

The plan to hold this 'Reform Conference' follows last week's revelation that the Alliance has decided to register with the Standards in Public Office Commission as 'a third party' which will raise money to be spent on politics.

The move to organise this rally in the RDS appears to be another testing of the waters to see whether the conditions might be right for the creation of a new political party.

There is certainly a lot of public apathy about the slow pace of promised reforms -- especially in the public sector. Small and medium-sized business people feel hampered by red tape, and all workers lucky enough to have a job face high taxes.

But whether any or all of these factors add up to real demand for a new political party remains to be seen. The cohesion and pulling-power of the seven dissident Fine Gael TDs and senators who comprise the Reform Alliance remain unproven.

But already, the call for this 'Reform Rally', which is directed to appeal to others with an interest in Irish public life, has added some fizz and excitement to politics. It has the potential to engage new people and re-engage some people who were previously politically active.

That, in itself, is a very good thing.

Irish Independent

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