Miriam Lord: Welcome to Lucinda’s and Shane’s Republic of Loose

A fascinating slow bicycle race is in full swing among our Independents

Lucinda Creighton is looking to reboot Irish politics, while Shane Ross wants to uproot Irish politics. It’s enough to give anyone a pain in the hashtag. Photograph: Julien Behal.

Lucinda Creighton is looking to reboot Irish politics, while Shane Ross wants to uproot Irish politics. It’s enough to give anyone a pain in the hashtag. Photograph: Julien Behal.

 

Uproot! Reboot! Itsahoot!

So many politicians planning to give politics a kick in the fundamentals makes for a bracing start to the year.

A boot up the reboot, so to speak. It’s enough to give anyone a pain in the hashtag.

While the political parties concentrate on their election strategies, a fascinating slow bicycle race is in full swing among our Independents.

Welcome to The Republic of Loose. For the good of the country, like.

Lucinda Creighton wants a new alliance to reboot Ireland and Irish politics.

Shane Ross wants that too. He says his new alliance will “absolutely uproot politics in this country.”

Richard Boyd Barrett is playing slow and loose too. He’s in “tentative talks” with the Socialist Party and others on the left and is confident “something will emerge.”

When it comes to Dáil groupings, the No Name Club is growing in Leinster House.

These are the Independents who hoped for a new politics – a better way of going about the important business of democracy. Instead, they say it’s business as usual in Dáil Éireann. They want to change the way things work.

And remember, they insist, not everyone partied.

To underline this, it looks like there won’t be any parties in their new political dispensations. Instead, the various groups of Independents with their different viewpoints intend to form United Fronts within which they can find Common Ground, while not losing their independence or voters.They intend to work to an agreed set of principles but no ideology.

South Dublin TD Ross is the driving force behind the force that isn’t behind the force that is Lucinda.

He has been travelling around the country talking to councillors about a proposed alliance of Independents.

“We have a duty to offer them an alternative,” Waterford Independent, John Halligan, told us yesterday. He says he can’t walk down the street at home without people coming up and asking him when he’s joining a new party. Halligan was in Leinster House meeting Ross and Finian McGrath, one of the prime movers in the alliance.

While Lucinda Creighton is touring media outlets around the country in preparation for her launch, the Shane Ross caravan is also on the move.

We hear they have a rally planned for the near future.

On Tuesday, we spotted four Independent councillors from Meath – Brian Fitzgerald, Nick Killian, Francis Deane and David Gilroy – in deep discussion with Shane Ross and Stephen Donnelly. The more councillors they sign up, the more candidates they can field in the general election.

While there is a definite desire among the Ross wing of Independents to capitalise on their popularity in the polls, they don’t seem so keen on setting up a new party.

Then again, a political party would have to adhere to gender quota rules or lose a large whack of its state funding. A loose alliance wouldn’t need to worry about fielding a certain percentage of women.

Perish the thought – they’re out to win seats. Only loose women for the loose alliance.

And their TDs would be able to keep their handsome Dáil allowances instead of the party collecting headage payments for them.

So what will they call themselves in this open marriage of a political arrangement? And who will speak for them during election debates, these sole traders in search of a catchy brand? “Slack Axis – The Potential Party.”

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