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Dublin: 11 °C Monday 22 September, 2014

TDs will provide ‘support system’ for election candidates – but insist they’re not a party

Six independent TDs, including former Labour minister Roisin Shortall, are among those working together to provide a support system for independent candidates in the local elections.

Some of the independent TDs involved in the loose alliance at a press event in Dublin yesterday.
Some of the independent TDs involved in the loose alliance at a press event in Dublin yesterday.
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

A GROUP OF independent TDs are offering what they say is a “support system” for candidates running in the local elections in May – but talk of a new political party has been downplayed.

Though the establishment of a new party has not been ruled out entirely, the main aim of at least six TDs is to establish a network for people considering running in the local elections on 23 May to access advice on logistics, such as how to get posters printed.

Independent TDs Catherine Murphy, John Halligan and Thomas Pringle have produced a working document entitled ‘Independent Thought – United Vision’ which sets out a proposal to “work together for the improvement of society with a vision of making the State more responsive to the needs of citizens”.

Former junior health minister Roisin Shortall, ex-Labour TD Patrick Nulty, and independent deputy Finian McGrath are also involved.

McGrath said that local election candidates will be required to sign up to the document which is published for by TheJournal.ie for the first time today.

Murphy said: “It is a working document that has yet to be be agreed. It’s intended to be a support sustem for independent candidates running in the locals. The whole premise behind it is to try and encouage different voices to get into Irish politics.”

“After the locals, if there is a passion or a desire for an expansion then maybe that might happen.”

Circulated

The working document, which may be subject to change, outlines areas where it is envisioned the loose alliance of independent TDs and local election candidates can cooperate on issues such as equality, personal debt, human rights, community and local government.

“A lot of us have been working with and mentoring independent people who are looking to contest the local elections and instead of doing that individually we thought there would be a basis for doing it collectively,” Murphy said at a press event on a separate issue in Dublin yesterday.

“Essentially we’re looking at some practical measures, people are asking us very practical things.

“In March we’re hoping to have a couple of initiatives that will formalise that so as that we can put the ladder down and encourage people to get on it rather than pull the ladder up.”

Other TDs who are thought to be involved in the project include Dublin-based deputies Tommy Broughan and Maureen O’Sullivan as well as Wicklow TD Stephen Donnelly. High-profile independent TD Shane Ross could also become involved.

As this website reported on Tuesday, Ross has been canvassing the views of some of his closest advisors on whether the time and mood is right for a new political movement.

Shane Ross asks supporters: Is the time right for a new political movement?

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