Left-wing Independent TDs to discuss forming umbrella group

Deputies to consider draft charter setting out potential direction and principles

Tommy Broughan: said he welcomed the document and was considering it

Tommy Broughan: said he welcomed the document and was considering it

 


A group of left-leaning Independent TDs are to meet next week to discuss the possible establishment of a loose alliance after they consider a draft charter setting out its potential direction and principles.

The document is from a group calling itself “Independent Thought – United Vision” and is authored by Independent TDs John Halligan, Catherine Murphy and Thomas Pringle.


Local elections
Mr Halligan said it was an attempt to bring the Independents together, and did not rule out allowing local election candidates run under its banner.

The document has been sent to TDs who expressed an interest late last year in forming an umbrella group, such as Labour rebels Róisín Shortall, Tommy Broughan and Patrick Nulty. A meeting will follow in the coming days to discuss what steps interested TDs should take next.

The Irish Times first reported in November that discussions were taking place about establishing the group.

Mr Broughan said he welcomed the document and was considering it, describing it as “very impressive, with fine aspirations which a lot of people on the left of Irish politics would share”.

Ms Shortall said it was “a document to circulate to see what the level of interest is in it. The intention next week is to sit down and see what the level of interest there is, and on the basis of that there could be better co-operation. It is hard to tell at this stage where it would go. It’s no harm to sit down and talk to people.”

While the group would be similar to the Reform Alliance in its “modus operandi”, Mr Broughan said any left alliance would be different because the potential members would not be drawn from the same party.

The seven-page document sets out a number of principles including equality, democracy, community, sustainability, solidarity and human rights and was also sent to Finian McGrath, Stephen Donnelly and Shane Ross.

“We envisage that those subscribing to this charter will be people who have an understanding of issues on the ground in communities throughout Ireland, ” it says.


‘Aspirations of citizens’
“All political parties espouse reform and the building of an equal society where all citizens can achieve their potential. However the reality has been that when they achieve political power they have betrayed the aspirations of citizens that have voted them into power.

“As Independents we agree to work together for the improvement of society with a vision of making the State more responsive to the needs of citizens. In agreeing to work together we believe that our common aims will ensure our cohesiveness thus eliminating the need for a ‘whip system’.”