Sunday 21 January 2018

Creighton vows there will be no political games, only the truth

Lucinda Creighton and other Renua members arriving for the party's think-in at Wood Quay Venue, Dublin Photo: Barbara Lindberg
Lucinda Creighton and other Renua members arriving for the party's think-in at Wood Quay Venue, Dublin Photo: Barbara Lindberg
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

She is the party leader the political establishment "wished would go away". She is "that woman" who "didn't play by the rules" and who refused to sit down and stay quiet.

Despite being bold and refusing to toe the Fine Gael line, there was a ministerial post on the horizon if she just kept her head down for six months like a "good girl".

Lucinda Creighton used her opening speech at the Renua Ireland think-in yesterday to launch arguably her most ferocious attack to date on the party and the people she once respected and adored.

"Well, to those people, I say: 'You play the game if you want to'. But this woman will not play political games. I am going to tell the truth, and so is Renua," she said.

Without doubt, there was something refreshingly honest about yesterday's think-in, held in the civic offices on Dublin's Wood Quay.

Unlike the think-ins of the mainstream political parties, Renua's event was entirely open to members of the public and the media.

The leadership, which includes Ms Creighton, deputy leader Billy Timmins and party president Eddie Hobbs, encouraged ideas and proposals from the floor.

And the proposals certainly came thick and fast.

Homeless campaigner Peter McVerry warned that an expenditure of €2bn per annum was required over the next decade to resolve the social housing list.

Journalist and campaigner Elaine Byrne said dealing with corruption required the same intensity as shown in the setting up of CAB following the murder of Veronica Guerin.

Eurosceptic Declan Ganley called for the introduction of a flat tax regime - which would see all taxpayers paying the same rate of income tax.

Lucinda and her colleagues listened intently.

Their policies are not yet complete, the party is continuing to learn.

And things must be done differently if Renua is ever to enter Coalition - a prospect that should not be ruled out. "But we stand here resilient," Lucinda said.

"Resilience, honesty, toughness, and principles are the things we bring to the table."

But as the day's events kicked off, Renua's most glaring challenge was quickly exposed.

The challenge relates precisely to what Renua is capable of "bringing to the table" if the opportunity of entering government ever arises.

Unlike its rivals, including the newly formed Social Democrats, Renua's 'political artillery' is in short supply.

The party does not have the Dáil heavyweights required to capture the public mood and persuade voters that it is embarking on something special.

It has one star, one exceptionally high performer who, on merit, would secure a place in any Cabinet.

Lucinda knows it, and deep down her colleagues probably do too.

But the benefit for any political party of having a team of many high performers was clearly illustrated this week.

The Fine Gael captain, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, was seriously wounded as a result of the damage inflicted by the Fennelly Commission Report.

But thankfully for Kenny, he had team mates on whom he could rely when the match entered its most critical phase.

Kenny was even able to take himself off the pitch entirely (and travel to Paris) in the knowledge that his squad had the necessary depth to see out the win.

Leo Varadkar, Frances Fitzgerald and Simon Harris all stepped up to the plate when called on to do so.

Lucinda doesn't have a Leo, a Frances or a Simon to turn to.

Unless that changes, the party has a long road ahead.

Irish Independent

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