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Dublin: 10°C Thursday 22 October 2020

Aontú launches its election campaign today... but the party is relying on 'grassroots' to fund it

Leader Peadar Tóibín has said the country can “do better than Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael”.

File photo. Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín
File photo. Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín
Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

ONE OF THE country’s newest political parties launches its general election campaign today, with Aontú targeting three to four seats to “break the cartel” of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

Aontú is fielding over 20 candidates in this general election, with leader Peadar Tóibín currently its only TD.

The party won three seats in the local elections in the Republic last year and one seat in the Northern Ireland local elections. 53 candidates ran in the south. In a statement issued last week, the party said it had over 2,000 members. 

In late 2018, Tóibín quit Sinn Féin and established his own party. The wheels for the new party were set in motion that year when Tóibín was suspended from Sinn Féin for six months because he voted against the abortion legislation in the Dáil. 

Tóibín was elected to Meath West for Sinn Féin in 2016.

In order to qualify for State funding under the Electoral Act 1997, a political party must be included in the Register of Political Parties and must have obtained at least 2% of the first preference votes at the last Dáil general election (in this case, 2016). 

As the party is only a year old, it doesn’t receive State funding.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland on Friday, Tóibín said Aontú is a “grassroots, people-powered organisation”, with those grassroots funding the party’s campaign for the general election.

“We’re operating on the fumes of gas at the moment,” he said, adding that supporters chipping in €10 and €20 is contributing to their campaign.

He said the party was targeting three to four seats in the upcoming election. 

“A political cartel has run this country for generations,” he said. “We have to do better for this country than Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.”

He said one of the major objectives of the party was to “make sure that every mother in the country has the economic confidence to raise their child to their full potential”, but wouldn’t be drawn on if changing existing legislation on abortion would be a cost for Aontú’s support to a government. 

With reporting from Christina Finn

About the author:

Sean Murray

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