Bennis says new party will surprise


THE new National Party, under the leadership of Limerick based Mrs Nora Bennis, is to target a significant number of constituencies in the next general election. It says its success at the polls will "surprise" the established parties.

At the launching of the fledgling conservative and "pro family" party in Dublin yesterday, Mrs Bennis said she would spearhead a drive to garner support. The National Party, which promotes "family, community and nation", has been born out of the democratic deficit which exists in Ireland today, she said.

"This deficit was evident in the recent referendum where almost 50 per cent of the people voted against divorce, despite the all party Dail consensus and a Government, illegally funded propaganda campaign.

According to Mrs Bennis, Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, Labour and other parties are promoting liberal and left wing policies "which damage Ireland socially, culturally and economically". If the National Party ever gets into government, it will hold another anti abortion referendum and "will carefully look" at the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

The new party was different in every respect from other parties, and aimed to put in place a programme to bring abut lower taxation, a strict system of accountability and performance for the Civil Service, lower State spending, the restoration of child tax allowances and job creation.

Crime also had to be tackled with an overhaul of the criminal justice system, while victims should be supported to a far greater extent with the full restitution required from offenders - not the taxpayer - in compensation. Although bail laws also required change and the provision of prison space had to be examined, the causes of crime had to be tackled.

Identifying the family as the real strength of Ireland as a nation, she said the party would also confirm "the value of marriage". It would have a commitment to the right to life from conception to natural death, and I would take "strong action" against drug and alcohol abuse as well as pornography and child sex "abuse.

She also pledged support for farming families and emigrants.

On Northern Ireland, Mrs Bennis said the Taoiseach, Mr Bruton, should talk to the Sinn Fein president, Mr Gerry Adams. No doors should be closed because peace was too important to lose.

"The National Party will promote commonsense practical policies to ensure that Ireland in the future is a safe, progressive society with a real respect for legitimate personal freedom and the promotion of innovation, creativity and wealth for the good of all," Mrs Bennis said.