Libertas founder Declan Ganley has proposed a new political movement that respects the conscience of every legislator on issues such as abortion.
Mr Ganley called on Fine Gael TDs not to abandon deeply held principles, saying that a political party that did not trust its TDs to make up their minds was not worthy of support.
Speaking at a public meeting he organised in Dublin last night, Mr Ganley also set out his views on tax, welfare, banking and Europe.
“What I am trying to do here tonight is not prescribe a miracle cure but start a conversation with you, my fellow citizens, and see if you are interested in answering the call,” he said.
Mr Ganley said the Government’s planned abortion legislation would “legalise the taking of innocent human life”. TDs who shared that view should not allow themselves to be whipped by their parties.
'Alternative for Ireland'
"An alternative for Ireland must respect the conscience of every citizen and legislator . . . It cannot adopt the politics of telling people how to vote on an issue as deeply personal as abortion," he said.
Mr Ganley called for lower taxes. He said the tax system could be made fairer by abolishing loopholes availed of by the richest members of society, and using the proceeds to cut taxes for the middle class and those who worked hard for low pay.
Welfare should be consolidated into a single payment, he said. Specialists from outside Europe should be hired to conduct a banking inquiry.
Mr Ganley said bankruptcy in Ireland should not be a “life sentence”. People who went bankrupt should lose all their economic assets but they deserved a second chance rather than being “economically paralysed for a lifetime”.
Brussels 'too big, too unwieldy'
He said Brussels had too many powers and was "too big, too unwieldy and structurally undemocratic", but insisted he was not Eurosceptic.
Mr Ganley failed to secure a seat in the 2009 European elections in the North West constituency.
Last night he said he was on the “winning side” in the first Lisbon Treaty referendum, but on the “losing side” for Lisbon II and the people had not agreed with him during last year’s fiscal treaty campaign.
Quoting Winston Churchill, Mr Ganley said: “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another without a loss of enthusiasm.”