New Independent Ireland party registered with Electoral Commission

Party founded by Cork South West TD Michael Collins and Limerick’s Richard O’Donoghue to target those disillusioned with ‘big three parties’

Two members of the Rural Independents groups have formed a new political party.

The Electoral Commission announced on Friday a new party named Independent Ireland had been registered.

Its founders are Cork South West TD Michael Collins and the Limerick County Independent Richard O’Donoghue.

They were previously associated with the Rural Independents Group, which includes Michael Healy-Rae, Mattie McGrath and Danny Healy-Rae among its members.


Mr O’Donoghue said he and Mr Collins were the only two Dáil deputies in the party but they hoped to encourage others to join.

He said that discussions had taken place within the Rural Independents group about establishing a new party but that the sentiment from others was they wanted to remain independent. He also said he and Mr Collins had spoken to the Roscommon Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice who suggested recently that a rural party was needed in Irish politics.

Independent Ireland would be delighted if Mr Fitzmaurice were to come on board in the future, he said.

Mr O’Donoghue said the party would not be a specifically rural party but would also seek to represent people in towns and cities.

“We see it as the only way forward,” he said. “We have been criticised as Independents with people saying it is very easy for us to criticise on the sidelines. Politics is about making a change.”

He said the party would present an opportunity to “bring people from all the counties together” with a plan to introduce proper infrastructure and investment throughout the country.

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He said he thought the time was right for a new party in Irish politics.

“We want to be the party that attracted voters who do not want to vote for Fine Gael or for Fianna Fáil but do not want to vote for Sinn Féin either. We see ourselves as offering a real alternative to the [big three] parties.”

Mr O’Donoghue said the party would be fielding candidates in the local elections next year and had hopes of winning ten seats or more in the next general election.

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times