Creighton to formally sever last ties with FG
Lucinda Creighton, the acknowledged leader of the Reform Alliance, will not be renewing her membership of Fine Gael, the Irish Independent can reveal.
Ms Creighton confirmed last night that she has taken the "difficult decision" to formally sever ties with her old party, reigniting suggestions that she will form a new political party.
"I never left Fine Gael, it left me and an awful lot of other people judging by polls this weekend, but I have decided not to renew my membership of the party," she told this newspaper.
The Reform Alliance was formed last summer after seven rebels were expelled from the party for voting against the government whip.
It has been confirmed that Alliance members Terence Flanagan and Senator Fidelma Healy Eames will renew their membership, and it had been thought Ms Creighton would do likewise.
Her husband, Senator Paul Bradford, has said he will not be renewing his membership, while Peter Mathews has already resigned from the party.
Denis Naughten didn't renew his membership when it lapsed 12 months ago.
The intentions of Wicklow TD Billy Timmins are unclear.
The deadline for membership renewals is Wednesday.
Explaining her decision not to renew her membership, Ms Creighton said: "Enda Kenny has made it clear he doesn't want us as Fine Gael candidates.
"This is about the future rather than clinging on to the past."
Ms Creighton said she had been approached by many friends within Fine Gael to renew her membership and she said she was taking the "difficult decision" to walk away with a heavy heart.
"It is difficult to give up membership of a party with which I have had a long connection to. But it is time to move on," she added.
Ms Creighton, a former junior minister for European Affairs, has said she intends standing for re-election, and will do so as an independent.
However, her confirmation that she is formally distancing herself from Fine Gael once again raises the prospect of the Reform Alliance becoming a fully fledged political party.
The Alliance earlier this year registered itself as a third party with the Standards in Public Office (SIPO), which grants it status to fundraise.
The group also held a "monster rally" in the RDS in January where almost 1,500 people attended.
Ms Creighton gave birth to a daughter, Gwendolyn, last month.