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Ireland's newest political party is called 'Aontú' but what does it mean?

The latest party in the Irish political landscape so far has a membership of around 1,400.

Peadar Tóibíin has announced the name of his new party.
Peadar Tóibíin has announced the name of his new party.
Image: RollingNews.ie

FORMER SINN FÉIN TD Peadar Tóibín revealed the name of his new party ahead of a public meeting in Belfast yesterday. 

In a tweet before the meeting, the Meath TD said the city was chosen for the announcement because it was the birthplace of the United Irishmen.

In an interview earlier this month, Tóibín told TheJournal.ie that he had applied to register the political movement with electoral bodies in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

So what does it mean?

“Aontú” means unity or agreement. 

Tóibín has managed to convince a number of elected councillors to join him, with some leaving established parties such as Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin to do so.

Tóibín now has a 1,400-strong membership signed up.

Joining up 

Speaking to TheJournal.ie he said he is in talks with six Oireachtas members about joining, although he won’t name names. 

Tóibín claims his party will not be a one-issue one, just pinning its mandate on a pro-life agenda. However, he does state that his party will seek to reverse the abortion legislation which was enacted at the end of last year. 

Like any other, the Meath TD said his party will have a “raft” of other policies.

“Every other party will have a policy on abortion and so will we… Obviously we will have a radically different view than others, but anyone that tries to pigeonhole us as a one issue party would be disingenuous because we are a literally a mirror image of the other parties except we are on the other side of that debate.” 

“In the future we would seek to have those amendments made to the legislation,” he said, adding that the Oireachtas Committee on abortion heard that socioeconomic reasons were the majority causes of abortions.

“Our view is let us as a country address those socioeconomic reasons so that no one is forced into making that decision. I do think the decisions made by this government under Harris and Varadkar leave so many women feeling that they don’t have a choice in terms of the economic situation they are in.

“We should be trying to find common ground between pro-life and pro-choice people. Let us tackle the socioeconomic reasons together,” he said.

Tóibín was suspended from Sinn Féin for six months last year because he voted against the abortion legislation in the Dáil. He later decided to leave the party. 

After being with the party for 21 years, he said he did so “with a heavy heart”.

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