Some 1,400 sign up to anti-abortion TD Peadar Tóibín’s party
Former Sinn Féin politician says fundraising and church-gate collections have begun
Peadar Toibin sent a letter to supporters this afternoon informing them that he has picked a name for the party. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
Some 1,400 people have signed up to the new political party being established by former Sinn Féin and anti-abortion TD Peadar Tóibín.
Mr Tóibín sent a letter to supporters this afternoon informing them that he has also picked a name for the party. It is understood he is in the process of registering that name both north and south, and will reveal it in the coming days.
In the letter, Mr Tóibín said that fundraising and church-gate collections have begun in order to fund the new party.
“Nine elected representatives from Fianna Fáil, SDLP, Sinn Féin and Independents’ backgrounds have left their political parties and declared for us.
“We are talking to another 20 elected reps from across the political spectrum with regards declaring for us,” he says.
“Our party Constitution has been adopted. We have held 11 public meetings across the country that are attracting up to 350 people to these meetings. We have 21 more meetings planed between now and mid-February throughout the country.”
He also tells supporters that “we are firmly on the radar of the media north and south.”
In terms of organisational development, he says that over 20 cumainn have been founded, 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 also says that selection conventions for the local elections will start in areas where there are elected representatives before the end of January.
“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 priority over the next few weeks.”
“We hope to have 100 cumainn up and running by the end of February.”
Representatives will be given canvass training next month. The party will also launch a new website in the coming weeks.
On fundraising, the party is asking people to “consider a monthly direct debit or standing order to the party to raise funds. This could be between €5 and €20 a month. There is no onus on anyone to do this,” the letter states.
“We are asking cumann to organise church gate collections, local draws, fund raisers and to tap interested people for a donations.”
At the conclusion of the letter, Mr Tóibín says that there is 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 in November over his opposition to abortion after 21 years. On resigning he announced that he would build a new party among people who voted against the referendum on abortion.
He said people “were seeking an alternative vehicle so that the 34 per cent of the population [who voted to keep the eighth amendment] have a voice”. He said this section of the electorate was being “pushed to the margins”.
In November he said he would see “if we can fold those people into a tight political organisation that actually represents those views, and would work hard for those objectives of a united Ireland and economic justice for people”.
Any new party would not seek to overturn the referendum result but would seek to tighten the laws on abortion currently going through the Oireachtas, he added.