Fianna Fáil reject David McGuinness joins Independent Alliance grouping

A rejected Fianna Fáil candidate has become the latest addition to the diverse grouping of the Independent Alliance (IA).

Launching its ‘Charter for Change’, the grouping, which includes sitting TDs Shane Ross, John Halligan, Tom Fleming, and Finian McGrath, introduced its newest addition yesterday.

Councillor David McGuinness, formerly of Fianna Fáil, was unveiled as an IA candidate and signed its charter at the launch in the Royal College of Physicians in Dublin.

Mr McGuinness, who is contesting in Dublin West, has already run in two by-elections in the constituency for his former party but quit Fianna Fáil last year after failing to secure a nomination.

Mr McGuinness has replaced councillor Lorna Nolan, who stepped down as a candidate for the Independent Alliance due to a family illness.

Yesterday, he took his first opportunity as an IA member to criticise the Labour Party by claiming that leader Joan Burton would not be re-elected. He said he believes Ms Burton is in “serious trouble” and now risks losing her seat.

Joan Burton
Joan Burton

Mr McGuinness said joining the grouping would allow him to vote with his conscience while still retaining power over legislation.

“The people of this country and certainly in my neck of the woods are considering voting Independents number one,” he said. “I don’t want to be in perpetual opposition, it’s easy in politics to always give out, but sometimes it takes some of us to make decisions to keep the economy on track and to look after those who don’t have a voice in society.”

Other IA candidates include former Green Party TD Paul Gogarty in Dublin Mid-West and journalist Carol Hunt in Dún Laoghaire. So far, 21 Dáil candidates have signed up to the alliance, which plans not to introduce a whip system meaning members will be able to vote how they like.

However, Mr Ross said that if the grouping were to enter into a government coalition after the upcoming election, they would support motions of confidence in it and would not bring down a government.

Shane Ross
Shane Ross

Describing the new grouping as “radical but responsible” Mr Ross that said the idea of supporting the government but allowing a free vote would introduce a new formula to politics.

Mr Ross said: “We will keep them in government if they implement the radical proposals we put forward. That doesn’t mean we will give them a blank cheque for their legislation, far from it. The principle of the free vote will continue to apply to all legislation but on votes of confidence they can take it that they will be supported.”

The lack of a whip system is among 10 aspirational points laid out in the IA charter. Other ideas include seeking a veto on any nominee to the posts of attorney general and ministry for justice and denying bail to repeat offenders.

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