Denis Naughten rules out joining new party
Former FG TD to contest next election as Independent despite reports of new party
A file photograph of Reform Alliance members, which could become a new political party under the ‘Independent Alliance’ banner. From left: Billy Timmins, Paul Bradford, Peter Mathews, Fidelma Healy Eames, Lucinda Creighton and Terence Flanagan.Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times.
Former Fine Gael TD Denis Naughten, a Reform Alliance member, has said he intends to contest the next general election as an Independent candidate despite suggestions the alliance may evolve into a new party. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.
A member of the Reform Alliance has ruled out joining a new party that could evolve from the group of former Fine Gael TDs and senators.
Denis Naughten, who represents the Roscommon South Leitrim constituency, has said he is not interested in joining another party.
“I will be contesting the next general election as an Independent candidate,” he said.
“I think there is a opportunity for the coming together of like-minded TDs in Leinster House with common objectives but should it progress into a political party, and that may very well happen, I’m not intesting in joining up.”
The Reform Alliance is due to publish a “radical” political reform policy document next week amid speculation that the group will evolve into a new party called the Independent Alliance.
The Reform Alliance is a group of former Fine Gael parliamentarians who were expelled from the parliamentary party for voting against the whip.
The most prominent member is former minister of state for European affairs Lucinda Creighton.
Ms Creighton said she had nothing to say on the prospect of forming a new party. “I haven’t taken any steps and that’s where it stands at the moment. Obviously radical political reform is required and I want to try to be part of that, but the rest of it is all speculation,” she said.
The Dublin South East TD said the Reform Alliance had been trying to come up with “good ideas” that were implementable.
“The Government could take on board these ideas tomorrow if they chose. They are certainly radical but don’t require convoluted constitutional reforms, bar the freedom of conscience element.”
Freedom of conscience on moral issues will be a central element of the policy platform. A system of ministerial rotation is also proposed, under which ministers would serve only one term plus two years consecutively.
Proposals to change the whip system and introduce changes into the way governments are formed in future will also be outlined.
Wicklow TD Billy Timmins said “time is running out” for those who might be interested in forming a new political party. “Certainly there probably is a desire for a new political party but whether members of Reform Alliance will be members of that, if it actually occurs, I don’t know,” he said.
Mr Timmins told RTÉ Radio One’s News at One programme it was important to acknowledge “dissatisfaction” with the main political parties in the aftermath of the local and European elections.
Dublin South deputy Peter Mathews said the political system had failed to address the economic crisis. Independents had delivered to people while parties had failed. “The whole system needs sandblasting. A new party of itself isn’t going to solve it,” he said.
Ms Creighton said other elements of the Reform Alliance’s policy document would be outlined next week. “It’s a work in progress,” she added.