When will Lucinda Creighton actually form her new party?
With ever-shifting allegiances in Leinster House, the much-heralded new political parties and alliances of Independents are still up in the air
Lucinda Creighton is the only confirmed TD in her new party. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/ Collins
The new political year has seen a flurry of activity around various political groupings and embryonic parties which may emerge ahead of the next general election.
Lucinda Creighton has announced her intention to form a party but has yet to formally do so, while Independents Shane Ross and Michael Fitzmaurice join hands between urban and rural and hope others may join them. Left-wing deputies are also talking about forming their own group.
But who stands where, and what TDs are inching in which direction?
To start with Creighton, the former Fine Gael minister is the only confirmed TD in her new party. Billy Timmins, another ex-Fine Gaeler, is almost certain to join her. Dublin Bay North deputy Terence Flanagan, another who lost the Fine Gael whip over abortion, is expected to throw his lot in with Creighton too, but there is a small suspicion he could yet return to the mothership.
Two former Fine Gael Senators – Paul Bradford and Fidelma Healy-Eames – complete the set.
Roscommon TD Denis Naughten, who lost the Fine Gael whip after opposing the party on cuts to his local hospital, has made it clear he will not be aligning himself to Ms Creighton or any other grouping. Stephen Donnelly this week said he would not be joining the Ross-Fitzmaurice group.
Deputies known to be keen on this looser alliance of Independents – which will not be a party – are Finian McGrath, John Halligan, Noel Grealish, Tom Fleming and Mattie McGrath. Independent Senator Gerry Craughwell is also thought to be interested.
Socialist Party TD Paul Murphy says work on “something very, very substantial flowing from the water charges movement” is under way. While he says it is still at an early stage, he will be speaking to Richard Boyd-Barrett of People Before Profit in the coming days.
Joe Higgins isn’t standing at the next election, while it is unclear yet if Dublin North’s Clare Daly is willing to co-operate with her former Socialist Party colleagues after departing in acrimonious circumstances earlier in this Dáil.