Document on political reform to be published
A new political party to appeal to voters disenfranchised and disillusioned by the mainstream consensus may be a step closer.
It is reported that the party, emerging from the ‘Reform Alliance’ group of Fine Gael TDs expelled by Enda Kenny for refusing to betray their conscience and support abortion, will shortly publish a policy document. The document will reportedly address the issue of political reform.
A key and innovative part of the new party will be that party representatives will not be bound by the narrow party whip system on controversial moral issues. Instead, members will be able to make up their own minds and vote in accordance with their conscience on issues like abortion and gay marriage.
While welcoming to pro-life voices, the party is reluctant to be solely defined by this issue, instead hoping to appeal to the wider high proportion of disenchanted voters. In the most recent local elections, just over half of voters bothered to cast a ballot. In Dublin, just 43%.
The group is reportedly trying to recruit independents to join with the group of dissident Fine Gael TDs and senators.
The Irish Catholic understands that front-woman Lucinda Creighton and her colleagues intend to make freedom of conscience on moral issues a central plank of its policy platform.
In a statement to The Irish Catholic, Ms Creighton insisted party members would “absolutely have the right to conscientious objection”.
“A free vote for all members would be unquestionable on all moral issues. The idea is to effectively dilute the party whip system,” she said.
Current mounting speculation follows steps taken by the Reform Alliance late last year towards becoming a fully-fledged political party by registering with the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO). Opinion polls regularly show nearly a third of the electorate is undecided on who to vote for in a general election fuelling speculation that there is an appetite for a new party.