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Why this man is going to be motivating politicians today

Eamon Dunphy will be addressing a meeting of the Independent Alliance in Athlone today.

14/10/2013. Eamon Dunphy Book Launch Source: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

THE INDEPENDENT ALLIANCE is holding a special meeting in Athlone today as it intensifies its preparations for the general election.

The loose alliance of independent TDs and councillors will hear from author and RTÉ pundit Eamon Dunphy among others during the course of a day-long event in the Hodson Bay Hotel.

It’s now expected that the political grouping will only be able to field around 25 candidates at the next general election, despite earlier ambitions to have a representative standing in each of the 40 Dáil constituencies.

Alliance member and Dublin Bay North TD Finian McGrath told TheJournal.ie this week: “We definitely have 20 in the bag and we might have 25. It was my dream at the start to have 40, but I had to compromise on that. If we get half the constituencies filled I’d be very happy.

We started off with the idea of getting 40 but as we went through the different constituencies and interviewed people there were certain people we didn’t want standing.

river Finian McGrath Source: TheJournal.ie

Shane Ross, the de-facto leader of the alliance, will address members at the start of today’s event. They will then spend the day in workshops which will include talks on how to deal with the media, how to market independents and how to get elected.

Aside from Dunphy, other guest speakers include independent MEP Marian Harkin, DCU journalism lecturer Dr Jane Suiter, consumer journalist Sinead Ryan and political consultant Jonny Fallon.

Dunphy, who almost ran in the 2011 general election and has more recently expressed support for Sinn Féin, is due to give a motivational speech to participants.

McGrath said Ross was “very close to Dunphy” and that nascent political grouping has developed a relationship with the outspoken pundit in recent months.

Ross was previously part of the ‘Democracy Now’ movement with Dunphy. Plans to contest the 2011 general election nationwide were aborted, reportedly due to time constraints.

McGrath said it was unlikely that Dunphy would be running as a candidate for the alliance and said he was not being paid for the appearance.

24/9/2009. Eamon Dunphy Gets Married Shane Ross and his wife Ruth Buchanan with Dunphy Source: RollingNews.ie

The political grouping – whose members have been at pains to insist is not a party – has already unveiled around 20 candidates who will be running under the Independent Alliance banner at the next election.

As well as Ross and McGrath, independent TDs Michael Fitzmaurice, Tom Fleming and John Halligan are also part of the group. Independent senator Feargal Quinn is its parliamentary chairman while fellow independent senator Gerard Craughwell is also a member.

The alliance unveiled a number of candidates in June and said that there would be more details on policies in the autumn amid criticism over a lack of detail. The alliance has so far only published 10 broad principles which it outlined in March. They include looking after rural Ireland and women.

Among those confirmed as standing for the alliance in the general election are Sunday Independent columnist Carol Hunt who is running in Dún Laoghaire. Yesterday, the former Green Party TD Paul Gogarty confirmed plans to run in Dublin Mid-West under the Independent Alliance banner.

Ross said in June there would be no whip on members except on confidence motions and said the aim was to hold the balance of power after the next election.

Read: The launch of a ‘radical but responsible’ political alliance didn’t quite go to plan

Read: Shane Ross (and others) will FINALLY launch the party that’s not a party next month

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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