Friday 30 September 2016

You wait 30 years for a new party ... suddenly three arrive together

Published 12/06/2015 | 02:30

Lucinda Creighton launched Renua Ireland in March
Lucinda Creighton launched Renua Ireland in March

Then, maybe, there were three. Lucinda Creighton and Billy Timmins launched Renua Ireland on March 13. Then Independent TDs Shane Ross, Michael Fitzmaurice and Finian McGrath talked about putting together a loose confederation of independent politicians.

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Now Dáil Éireann's star of the moment, Catherine Murphy, Stephen Donnelly and other independents are the focus of speculation about a new party. Talks are said at this point to be "tentative and at an early stage".

The battle for the considerable non-aligned vote is definitely hotting up. At its height surveys indicated that 'Independents and Others' could command up to one-third of the vote.

More recently that number is below one-quarter - heading for 20pc. That remains a considerable chunk of political trade.

Politicians of all hues at Leinster House admit there is unease among the electorate, disenchantment with established parties, and a yen for change.

At the same time, sage political observers say that in the heat of an election campaign 'Independents and Others' risk losing their relevance as voters focus on the dull but necessary business of choosing a government to order their affairs.

Amid the recession, there were many straws in the wind suggesting scope for a new party espousing right-wing economics.

As things perk up, there is a view that a more leftist party could gain traction.

But establishing any kind of party takes endless energy and resources.

And a general election is now a maximum of nine months away.

The last time this country had a major new political party was in December 1985, when Des O'Malley and Co gave the nation the Progressive Democrats.

Could it be, that after waiting 30 years … three of 'em arrive together?

Irish Independent

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