Peadar Tóibín to target seats in Donegal for new pro-life party

Peadar Tóibín to target seats in Donegal for new pro-life party
TD for Meath, Peadar Tóibín

The new yet-to-be-named pro-life, Republican political party being led by former Sinn Féin TD for Meath, Peadar Tóibín, will be targeting Donegal as one of its priority constituencies as it tries to make a breakthrough in May’s local elections.

How his new party fares in the north-west county will be watched closely as it was the only constituency to have a "No" majority in last year's Eighth Amendment referendum

Speaking today to Midlands 103, Peadar Toibin said people from the yes side of the recent referendum were also attending the group's meetings.

"The strongest pro-life, human rights vote came from Donegal, but obviously that human rights vote was visible right throughout the country at different levels. Most of the north-west and Midlands, that human rights vote came in at well over 40% and we'll obviously be looking for many of those people to support us with regards strengthening the human right to life into the future," he said.

"But there are people who voted yes in the referendum who are attending our meetings."

Commenting after he addressed a crowd of over 250 people at a public meeting in Letterkenny on Tuesday night, Mr Tóibin said: “The Donegal constituency is the most aligned with our politics.”

He continued: "I believe that we will win local (election) seats in Donegal and the establishment parties will wake up and listen to what we say.

The new party will be hoping to attract considerable support from those who feel that their voice is not being heard, and notably the 34% of people nationally who voted against repealing the Eighth Amendment in the recent referendum.

"We need to get up off our seats and mobilise," he said adding that the voice of the 723,632 who voted "No" in the recent referendum must be heard in Leinster House.

"This is the human rights debate of our generation," he insisted.

He called on the people of Donegal to get involved in a "people's movement" to challenge the "groupthink in the Dáil."

He also confirmed that Donegal will be one of the party’s “target constituencies” whenever the next general election is held.

Firstly, though, he wants to see branches set up in the Donegal in the coming weeks and for candidates to be selected to contest the local elections.

"We have to go from nought to sixty fast," he declared, adding: "Membership is key. We need a mass movement. We will try and get people into cumainn and have meetings in the next ten days."

He then wants people to "get active" and to get out and "knock on doors".

He confirmed that on Tuesday morning documentation had been submitted as part of the process to establish the political party. It is expected that a name will be decided upon in the coming weeks.

We are functioning like a political party,” he said.

The new party will be organised on an All-Ireland basis and will be pro-life, seek economic justice, and proper spatial (balanced regional) development, as well as being euro-critical.

He says that it will stand up and challenge the politics of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and Labour.

Housing, healthcare, neutrality, the Irish language and taxation changes are among the other key areas that are likely to dominate future policy.

In an upbeat, inspirational presentation, occasionally interrupted by rounds of applause, he stressed the need for "activism" and said: "We have got to focus on what we can achieve together...I need you to climb this mountain.”

Last weekend, an SDLP councillor in Co Tyrone, Rosemarie Shields, became the first elected representative in the north to join the new still nameless party.

Mr Tóibín is due to address another public meeting in Cork on Thursday.

Last November, he announced his resignation from Sinn Féin, saying that restrictions imposed on him by the party over his views on abortion had prevented him from fully representing his constituents.

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