Saturday 17 March 2018

Plans for left-wing party met with scepticism by the Government

Senator Averil Power hasn’t
held any discussions about
joining the new party
Senator Averil Power hasn’t held any discussions about joining the new party

Niall O'Connor and Daniel McDonald

The prospect of a new left-wing political party has been met with scepticism within Government circles.

Sources within Fine Gael and Labour have cast doubt over plans by three prominent Independent TDs to set up a new party ahead of the election.

It was revealed yesterday that deputies Stephen Donnelly, Catherine Murphy, Róisín Shortall, as well as senator Katherine Zappone, are in advanced talks about establishing a new movement.

Independent Senator Averil Power, who has been linked with the group, told the Irish Independent last night that she has not held any discussions about joining.

While the news of the potential new party came as a surprise within Government circles, Coalition figures have said that they are unconvinced the party will come to fruition.

Junior Finance Minister Simon Harris yesterday said he was not overly concerned about "idle chitchat" about who might set up a new party.

Mr Harris, a TD for Wicklow/East Carlow, said the public were looking for a Government that could deliver stability.

"I think what we need to be having a debate about in the media, in the Dáíl and everywhere else is about policies rather than personalities," he said.

"I think there's a duty on all of us to get on with actually doing the serious business that people want us to do in relation to creating jobs, getting the economy back on track and making the recovery real for people rather than engaging in the idle chitchat of who might set up a party with whom."

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said he was not concerned about the prospective party eating into his party's support.

"We have to await the outcome of those discussions. Anything that will lead to continued debate and discussion on issues is welcomed in many ways," he said.

Last night, Mr Donnelly and Ms Shortall said they did not wish to comment further when approached.

Irish Independent

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