We have a vague idea of when the next general election will be held – provided the present government will see out its full term. We have only inklings of how many parties or proposed alliances will face the starter when that election is eventually called.
However, those inklings are being hardened up by the day. We’re learning of the formation of new parties as almost every independent deputy and some from the mainstream parties are talking openly about forming parties with policies ahead of the next big day.
One thing for sure is that it’s going to make one of the the most fascinating year-and-bit as those of us who love that class of blood-sport listen, watch and read all about it as the time approaches – and it’s closing in.
Our immediate neighbour and independent TD, Tom Fleming was mentioned on RTÉ’s Prime Time last night as being on side with the new formation being spoken of by fellow deputies, Shane Ross and newcomer and turf-cutting campaigner, Michael Fitzmaurice who now represents the Roscommon / South Leitrim constituency.
Others who would appear certain to be in the emerging alliance include: Finian McGrath and Mattie McGrath, Noel Grealish, Stephen Donnelly, John Halligan and Denis Naughten – a former FG TD.
Apart at all from the policies the new alliances may adopt in their bid to “absolutely uproot politics in this county” – as Shane Ross put it on Prime Time – it could well put many rural TDs in positions of power brokering.
This could mean that the real problems of rural Ireland today could be brought to the decision makers’ table in a enlightened and meaningful way.
Tom Fleming,TD said today that a precedent for any new alliance was already set in Dáil Éireann with the ‘Technical Group’ sharing a common platform on many issues.
“Talks have been going on in the background for the past three months or so on a set of agreed policies that would be presented before the next election. Shane Ross has written to all the elected Independent councillors after last May’s election and he got a very positive response from them.
“We have so many issues concerning the decimation of rural towns and villages throughout Ireland to tackle as a group going into the election. The aim of the alliance would be to be in a position to influence the policies which are now forcing rural areas further into decline and helplessness and to try and halt the mass emigration which is seeing so many of our young people having to leave home,” said Deputy Fleming.
However, his fellow Independent TD and constituency rival, Michael Healy Rae, TD also put his general election 2016 status clearly:
“At this present time I’m representing the people of Kerry as a hard-working Independent TD and that’s how I’m going to face into the next general election. I have no business telling you that I’m going to talk to anyone about a new party – and I’m friends with all of them – until I find out what way the people will vote in that election. We’ll all have to wait and see who the people will elect first and then we can see how the numbers stack up and who stands where – in my humble opinion. I must get elected first and when the people have their say in who they want to represent them, then we can look around us and talk to those who best serve the needs of the people who send us there,” said Deputy Healy Rae.
“Lucinda Creighton and her new party members are stating that they won’t prop up either Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil after the next election. I don’t know how they can talk like that as they don’t or can’t know that they’ll be there themselves until the people have spoken – and that’s my line on it and it would be presumptuous of me or anyone else to think any other way about it. That’s my feeling,” Deputy Healy Rae concluded.