New political party plans to recruit Independents
Talks taking place with politicians considering joining group emerging from Reform Alliance
Lucinda Creighton: anxious to involve people from outside initial group of dissident TDs.
Detailed plans for a new party have been drawn up and discussions
are taking place with politicians inside and outside the Dáil who are considering joining.
The party, emerging from the group calling itself the Reform Alliance, will publish a policy document on political reform in the coming weeks as the prelude to the formation of the political party later in the year.
The success of Independents in the recent elections has boosted confidence that the time is ripe for the formation. The party is likely to be called the Independent Alliance.
The movement’s leading light, Lucinda Creighton, is anxious to involve people from outside the initial group of dissident Fine Gael TDs and senators who broke with the party on the abortion issue. Ms Creighton and her supporters are hoping that some of the new Independents will join the group.
The group is keen not to become overly identified with the anti-abortion issue and it will not be central to the policy of a new party. Instead Ms Creighton and her colleagues intend to make freedom of conscience on moral issues a central plank of its policy platform.
Sources in the movement say the new party will adopt a liberal economic agenda emphasising budgetary discipline and free market policies, along with a commitment not to apply the party whip on issues of conscience.
The document on political reform due to be published this month will detail how the whip system should be changed.
It will also advocate fundamental changes in the way governments are formed, with strict time limits on how long ministers can serve in cabinet.
The document will propose that ministers should automatically leave the cabinet after serving one full term plus two years.
“One of the reasons for the crash was that a set of ministers was in place for more than 10 years and they had lost all connection with reality,” said one of the promoters of the policy.
It will also suggest that politicians’ pay should be capped and then linked to the pay of ordinary PAYE workers .
It will propose the abolition of pensions to the taoiseach and members of the government, with all former politicians being entitled to draw only a TD’s pension.
In April the Reform Alliance launched a “Fair Value Lending” policy designed to prevent the creation of a new property bubble. It argued that banks should only be allowed to lend on the basis of historical average incomes.