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'We are on the cusp of a government without Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael'

Lucinda Creighton has said that the window of opportunity for a new political movement is closing.

Pearse Doherty at the MacGill Summer School earlier today
Pearse Doherty at the MacGill Summer School earlier today
Image: Screengrab/Donegal County Council

Updated 1.25pm

LUCINDA CREIGHTON HAS said that the “window of opportunity” for a new political party will not be there forever as she again hit out at the government’s failure to reform the political system in Ireland.

In a speech on political culture at the MacGill Summer School in Glenties this morning, the Reform Alliance deputy claimed that the same level of “political cronyism” that once existed in Fianna Fáil remains prevalent today.

Speaking to journalists after this morning’s session, Creighton said it was important that people who are involved in and have an understanding of politics get involved in any new political movement.

Creighton said that “people need to start thinking about organising and preparing” for the next general election which could be sooner than 2016 and said this “maybe” could include her.

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty said that Ireland is on the cusp of something that has never been achieved: a government without Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael.

“Political culture will only change when politics changes – when we break to strangle hold of the establishment parties on the governance of the state,” Doherty told the audience in his home constituency.

Creighton criticised the political culture in Ireland saying it “provides an easy and convenient means of excusing much of what characterises the very worst of Irish officialdom” saying it becomes too easy to blame “the prevailing political culture”.

She said: “The link between ideas and electoral outcomes no longer seems to have any place in Irish elections.  Politics has been reduced to a game of personalities and seat numbers.”

‘Visionary change’

The Dublin South-East deputy praised former taoisigh Sean Lemass and Garret FitzGerald for driving through “visionary change”.

She praised the Green Party for pushing for a reduction in carbon emissions when no other parties were talking about climate change and the defunct Progressive Democrats for changing the debate on taxation and expenditure.

On the ongoing talk of a new political party, Creighton said “the conditions for fundamental change exist”, adding: “The questions are who, when, what?”

“Those people must soon stand up and be counted.  Ireland deserves better and the window of opportunity will not be there forever,” she said.

In her contribution, independent TD Catherine Murphy said that while the country and its people have a reputation for being “the fighting Irish” we are political “a fairly passive lot” and tend to be reactive rather than proactive citing the recent medical card controversies.

‘Snobbery’

“We articulate the need for radical reform but want it delivered through conservative entities,” she said, pointing out that only two per cent of Irish people are members of political parties.

She said the recent local election results, which saw independents get 28 per cent, demonstrated that people have a new freedom on how to vote. The Kildare North deputy criticised the “snobbery of how the independent vote was analysed” by some commentators, adding: ”It was seen as a problem.”

Sinn Féin deputy Doherty said that Ireland was unique in the western world in having no left-wing media and criticised its role in the collapse of the economy.

Corruption has been “endemic and systemic” under governments of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, he said, adding that the political culture will change when these two parties are not in government.

He continued: “We are on the cusp of something that has never been achieved — a government without Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael.”

While not naming him, the Donegal South West deputy also hit out at Phil Hogan as “a person who embodies what is wrong with our political culture”.

Sunday Business Post deputy editor Pat Leahy said that while most people would acknowledge that this government is better than the last one it has not changed the way we do politics.

  • Follow @oconnellhugh for updates from the MacGill Summer School in Glenties 

First published 12.17pm 

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Hugh O'Connell

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