A FINE Gael senator is considering defecting to Lucinda Creighton's new political party if he fails to be selected as a general election candidate.
Clare-based Martin Conway has already discussed the prospect of aligning with the former junior minister - in a move that would come as a major blow to Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
Mr Conway (inset right) faces the possibility of losing out in his bid to run as a Fine Gael candidate in the upcoming general election given that the party already has two sitting TDs in Clare. He did not wish to comment when contacted last night.
But a party source confirmed that the senator, who suffers with partial blindness, is considering joining Ms Creighton's party, which uses the slogan Reboot Ireland.
"Martin would be very friendly with Lucinda and her husband, senator Paul Bradford," the source said.
The news comes as it emerged that Independent TDs Michael Fitzmaurice and Shane Ross are due to hold further talks about plans to form a new alliance this weekend.
Mr Fitzmaurice told the Irish Independent issues such as a launch date would be discussed in the coming days.
"We have been getting a great reaction but there is a lot to talk about and a lot of work to do. We are taking it one step at a time," he added.
The pair are set to recruit a number of Independent TDs, including Stephen Donnelly, John Halligan, Tom Fleming, Finian McGrath and Denis Naughten.
One TD set to join the group, Independent Dublin North Central TD Finian McGrath, said he would not rule out the prospect of introducing a third rate of tax for high earners.
Mr McGrath said that while no policy decisions have been made, the top earners would have to be targeted to offset issues like the health crisis.
"We all have this kind of common platform," he told RTE's 'Morning Ireland'.
"Of course we come from different backgrounds; I come from a community voluntary sector, but we also have learnt that we can hammer out and agree on issues," he added.
Clontarf councillor Damian O'Farrell, who secured the highest vote in the local elections, and Lord Mayor Christy Burke are also set to join.
The post-Christmas period has been dominated by the formations of a number of new political parties and alliances.
Along with the Ross-Fitzmaurice led group and Ms Creighton's party, a number of left wing politicians are preparing to set up a separate alliance in the coming weeks.
These include People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett and Anti-Austerity Alliance deputies Joe Higgins, Ruth Coppinger and Paul Murphy.
Former Labour turned Independent TD Tommy Broughan also confirmed that he is considering aligning with his left wing colleagues.
While insisting he has made no decisions, Mr Broughan said that it was an option he was "looking at".