Four new political groupings likely to be formed ahead of next general election

Richard Boyd Barrett says informal discussions going on between left-wing parties

Four new political parties or alliances could be established by the summer in anticipation of a general election occurring earlier than the scheduled date of April 2016.

Detailed plans for a further two new political groupings should be disclosed by the end of January, according to Dáil Deputies involved with the projects, who say plans are now nearing fruition.

Prominent Deputies from the Socialist Party and People Before Profit also confirmed informal talks had taken place with a view to forming a broad left-wing electoral movement based around opposition to austerity and water charges.

Informal discussions



Fine Gael

TD and Minister of State

Lucinda Creighton

has already announced she will be establishing a new party in February. The as yet unnamed party plans to run candidates in all 40 constituencies with a minimum target of winning 14 seats.

Richard Boyd Barrett, the People Before Profit TD, has told The Irish Times it has had tentative talks with the Socialist Party and "others on the left" about forming an alliance.

“There have been informal discussions going on between different components of smaller parties and independents and others on the left,” he said.

“I would be quite confident in predicting that some form of alliance or common platform will be established. I do not want to preempt discussions, but it is likely that something will emerge.”

Joe Higgins of the Socialist Party also said that changes would definitely happen between now and the general election, but said such moves were at a very early stage.

He said the movement would be a wider one that would take its lead from the grass-roots campaigns against water charges and against austerity. Many people had joined those campaigns and had become politicised, he said. An earlier pan-socialist grouping, the United Left Alliance, won five seats in 2011, but later fell apart .

Yesterday, Dublin North Central TD Finian McGrath confirmed plans were at an advanced stage for an alliance of TDs, Senators and Councillors who would stand under a common banner and platform in the next election.

The driving force behind the alliance is Dublin South TD Shane Ross, who travelled around the country over the Christmas period to hold discussions with prospective members and candidates.

Mr McGrath said yesterday that four TDs – Mr Ross, himself, Galway West TD Noel Grealish and Waterford TD John Halligan – have already declared an interest. He said 40-50 independent councillors would join the alliance.

Mr McGrath agreed negotiations would be difficult but that all should agree on seven or eight key policy principles.

“There is going to have to be major compromise,” he said. “We want to have a group of credible TDs who will hold the line to have these policies implemented.”

Similarly, Independent TD for Roscommon South-Leitrim Michael Fitzmaurice confirmed that he had also been speaking to TDs, Senators and Councillors and would continue to do so during January.

He said the main focus of his interest was to get people to agree to formulate policy so that the grouping would have “some meat on the bone” and let voters know where it stood on the key issues.

Abolition of USC

The new party headed by Ms Creighton has said it will retain water taxes but abolish the universal social charge as part of a wider reform of tax policy that will be fully costed.

She said last night: “All income taxes should be streamlined and our tax code must be simplified. The USC is just another income tax.”

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times