Group will ‘speak its mind’ in Dáil

Fine Gael rebel Lucinda Creighton has said her new grouping, Reform Alliance, which is holding a think-in in Dublin today will “speak its own mind in the Dáil” and “vote in the best interests of the country”.

Group will ‘speak its mind’ in Dáil

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, the Dublin South East TD dismissed talk the group should follow the Taoiseach and vote in favour of the Government to secure Fine Gael nominations at the next general election

“We are not members of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party. We have been ejected through no fault of our own, in our view,” she said.

“I’m not subject to any whip any longer. The idea that we should go into the Dáil and not speak and not vote in the hope of being readmitted to the party would be a total abdication of our responsibilities.”

The Reform Alliance comprises four other rebel TDs, Billy Timmins, Peter Mathews, Terence Flanagan, and Denis Naughten, and senators Paul Bradford and Fidelma Healy Eames. It has already set up a website, a Twitter account, and is expected to establish a logo.

However, Ms Creighton, the former European affairs minister, said the group was not a political party and, with two-and-a-half years left to run in this Dáil, it would concentrate on issues including employment, social welfare, and reform.

“We will be pursuing Fine Gael values and policies in our acts, words, and deeds in the Dáil, and there’s no question of us opposing Enda Kenny or Fine Gael. Having said that, we are not under any whip and will vote in the best interests of the country,” she said.

The seven, who all voted against the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, are meeting two days ahead of the official Fine Gael party think-in which they are not allowed to attend.

Galway West TD Brian Walsh yesterday said he was opting out of the alliance because he believed it was becoming a political party.

“It became quite apparent to me the group has evolved into something that’s going to have... all the hallmarks of a political party,” he said.

Last night, a Fine Gael party insider said: “The best way back into the party for anyone who has lost the whip is to keep voting with the Government.”

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