Peadar Tóibín to name new political party ‘Aontú’

Former Sinn Féin TD registers with electoral bodies on both side of the Border

Former Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín resigned from the party at the end of 2018 over its support for repealing the Eighth Amendment on abortion. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Former Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín resigned from the party at the end of 2018 over its support for repealing the Eighth Amendment on abortion. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

Former Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín is to name his new political party Aontú.

Mr Tóibín has applied to register the political movement with electoral bodies in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The Electoral Commission in Northern Ireland confirmed it had received an application from Mr Tóibín to register a party in the North.

“Aontú means unity and consent,” Mr Toibin told The Irish Times .

“We seek the unity of Irish people north and south and to build an Ireland for everyone - Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter in the tradition of the United Irishmen of 1798.

“We’ll seek to build an all-Ireland economy to mitigate the worst effects of Brexit, economic justice for all and to protect the right to life.”

Some 1,400 people have signed up to join the new party.

In terms of organisational development, Mr Tóibín previously revealed that more than 20 Cumainn have been founded in the party, with six of these in the north of Ireland.

“We have achieved more in the north than Fianna Fáil in 20 years. Counties such as Meath, Cork, Dublin, Donegal have multiple Cumainn functioning. Some Cumainn have started to canvass once a week in their areas,” he said.

The party is also organising selection conventions for the local elections.

“We need to sign up as many citizens who are aligned to our politics and who are in good standing as members as possible. Cumainn and members should make this a priority over the next few weeks,” Mr Tóibín previously said in a letter to supporters.

In the same letter, Mr Tóibín said that there was a need for the new party. “The level of anger in Irish society is a sight to behold. There is a demand and a need for a new movement of people. We are this movement. There is no one coming after us.”

Mr Tóibín resigned from Sinn Féin at the end of 2018 over its support for repealing the Eighth Amendment on abortion. He said he had been excluded from speaking rights, spokesperson’s positions, and had been “significantly censored” in his media appearances.

Aontú was also the name of the Sinn Féin strategy group for cross-Border integration – which was at one stage one of the party’s major initiatives to “advance the all-Ireland agenda and advance preparations for Irish reunification”.

Aontú had been set up in 2005 by the party leadership to “bring forward and implement plans for the integration of services, developments and infrastructure throughout the border region.”

“The formation of Aontú illustrates Sinn Féin’s absolute commitment to achieving real progress not just in the Border Corridor Area but beyond,” the party said in 2005.