Labour Senator evicted from Leinster House office says he wants to build new party

James Heffernan plans on running as an Independent in the next general election

Senator James Heffernan: “I would like to see a common policy platform out forward by like-minded independent people . . . “

Senator James Heffernan: “I would like to see a common policy platform out forward by like-minded independent people . . . “

 

A Senator who claims he was “evicted” by the Labour Party from his office in Leinster House, after voting against the government on a number of important legislative matters, has said he wants to build a new political party.

Senator James Heffernan, who plans on running as an Independent candidate in the next general election, said he was was locked out of his office – which he shared with Senator John Gilroy – and relocated to an office next to former Labour junior health minister Róisín Shorthall, who resigned the party whip in 2012. Ms Shorthall resigned from Labour over what she described as a “lack of government support” for plans to reform the health service.

Mr Heffernan, said on the Live 95FM Limerick Today programme on Wednesday that he was talking to other politicians to bring “an alternative before the electorate”.

“I have been speaking with various different people . . . I would like to see a common policy platform out forward by like-minded independent people; people from outside of politics; people from civil society; people from the world of academia; people who are interested in standing up for our country; people interested in standing up for fairness for our people and people who will not sell out and who will not go back on their word once they would be in power,” he added taking a swipe at Labour.

Last year Mr Heffernan fell out with Labour Senator John Gilroy when the two shared an office after Mr Heffernan voted against Labour in the Dáil on the Water Services Bill. After a two-month office feud between the pair, events have finally come to head with the locks having been changed on the office door and Mr Heffernan shown the door.

“I’ve been evicted from my office, I’ve been locked out of my office and the word ‘lockout’, and the use of that tactic is not normally associated with the Labour Party and it’s certainly normally an anathema to them.”

He added: “When you don’t fit the mould and you don’t go along with things you can be targeted and that’s what happened. I think it’s a bit extreme, I think it’s a bit over the top.”

Fuelling speculation he and Ms Shorthall had already joined force to build a new party he added: “I think that I have a lot more in common with Róisín Shorthall than I would with John Gilroy. Róisín left the Labour Party and left a ministerial post in government, over pure stroke politics.”

He added: “The office I was in was big enough to house four members of the Oireachtas at one time. Now [Senator] Gilroy is down there by himself.”