About 300 gather to hear Peadar Tóibín pitch new party in Navan

TD who left SF after abortion fallout also raises united Ireland and economic issues

Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

 

Fianna Fáil is a “lapdog to Fine Gael and is doing Fine Gael’s bidding,” the Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín told a public meeting in Navan on Monday night as he continued to lay the foundations for a new political party.

He said a small cabal of TDs around party leader Micheál Martin were telling the membership of Fianna Fáil “to get stuffed”.

Mr Tóibín left Sinn Féin recently because he said the party marginalised and ostracised him due to his opposition to abortion. He is seeking to set up a political party to serve those who he says have nobody to represent them in Leinster House.

About 300 people attended the meeting in Navan, a turnout described by Mr Tóibín as “incredible”. It was the fourth such meeting in recent weeks, with other taking place in Tralee, Kildare and Dublin.

Mr Tóibín was greeted with a standing ovation at the start of the meeting and told the crowd: “After the couple of weeks that I’ve had, this is a sight for sore eyes.”

‘Stand up’

He was cheered when he said that people had said to him “over and over again” that they had “nobody to vote for”. He said “people have to stand up now” as there was “a small window of opportunity” to build a political organisation.

Mr Tóibín said that between those who voted against removing the constitutional ban on abortion and Yes voters who believed legislation on terminations went too far, there was one million people whose views were not represented in the Dáil.

He said the new party would also prioritise the creation of a united Ireland but it was on economic issues that he dwelled most frequently, and which drew repeated applause from the audience.

Mr Tóibín was critical of vulture funds, inadequate support for small businesses, tax breaks for property investment trusts and the over-concentration of investment in Dublin. He said that “small businesses are being stuffed in a number of ways,” citing insurance, rates and utility costs. He said the organisation would “crowbar those issues back up to the top of the priority list”.

In response to questions, Mr Tóibín said he did not have a name for the party yet. However, he set out a plan for setting up a system of local branches from which he hoped candidates for the local elections would be selected.