Shane Ross: No Fine Gael/Labour talks

The leading TD of a new independent alliance of politicians has said his group has not held talks with the Coalition about propping up parties after the next general election.

Independent TD Shane Ross also said he was hopeful the new alliance would have no difficulty recruiting women candidates to fall in line with new gender quotas for the election.

Mr Ross said: “We’re on the way, the train has left the station.”

The alliance of five sitting TDs, a senator, and more than 50 councillors met in Tullamore, Co Offaly, at the weekend where it outlined 10 principles it says that it wants agreed with the next government.

These include stripping politicians of the power to make appointments, reviving rural Ireland, abolishing the party whip for most votes, and removing obstacles for women in Ireland.

Mr Ross told the Irish Examiner that in “absolutely no way” had he or the group spoken with Fine Gael or Labour.

“I’ve no intention of chatting to anybody before election or propping up a government,” he said. “Afterwards, if we are in a pivotal position, we can negotiate.”

The Dublin South TD said, judging by the turnout at the weekend, that the alliance should have enough female candidates to meet the quota rules for the election, even though it will not be a party.

“We haven’t got down to number of candidates yet but we don’t think we will have any difficulty meeting the quotas,” he said.

The alliance says the only issues TDs would vote on would be motions of confidence or budgets in the Dáil.

Mr Ross told RTÉ the alliance wanted to reopen closed post offices and Garda stations.

However, he said no “pork barrel deals” or local agreements would be done with a government, as had been done in the past by other Independent TDs.

He said members were open to taking up cabinet post if it furthered principles.

Other high-profile figures who have so far signed up for the alliance include TDs John Halligan, Finian McGrath, Tom Fleming, and Michael Fitzmaurice, and Senator Gerard Craughwell.

Meanwhile, the newly formed Renua Ireland party will today announce that it has poached a Fianna Fáil councillor to contest May’s Carlow-Kilkenny by- election.

The Lucinda Creighton-led party has signed up Patrick McKee, 26, an apprentice solicitor who was first elected in last year’s local elections. The Kilkenny town councillor is seen a strong contender for a seat.

Read more of today’s news here


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