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Renua's leader quits the party, leaving it with no elected representatives

Councillor John Leahy said the party needs “a different direction”.

John Leahy at the launch of the party in 2015.
John Leahy at the launch of the party in 2015.
Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

RENUA LEADER JOHN Leahy has stepped down from the party, leaving Renua with no elected representatives.

Leahy was elected to Offaly County Council last month after topping the poll the Birr electoral area but the party failed to get another candidate elected elsewhere.

He told TheJournal.ie that this electoral performance was the reason for his decision to step down after almost three years as leader.

“My first big test was the local elections and I failed to return any councillor other than myself,” he said.

So I think from that point of view when you go into that big test and you failed to do it after giving everything I could possibly give, up and down the county with 27 candidates in the field and European candidates, and to only return myself, I think to be fair to party and for the party to grow it probably needs a different direction.

“I tried my best, I felt people wanted something different but it’s not what I was offering anyway,” he added.

Leahy says he informed the party’s board last night and that they accepted his resignation.

The councillor says that, under party rules, leadership candidates can put themselves forward if they are an elected representative. Seeing as there are none, Leahy says there is another provision that allows the party’s national board to take nominations for a new leader.

These nominations must then be approved by a certain number of board members before they can be put to the party’s membership. Leahy says it is his understanding that these nominees need not be elected representatives.

At the meeting of the Offaly County Council last week, Leahy supported Fianna Fáil on the council and he said today that this decision was because “to get something done you need be in a powerbase”.

“There is no point sitting looking and watching Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael coming through the door and they deciding what will be passed and not passed. If I can get into the decision-making room that’s where I want to be,” he said.

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“I’m onto committees now that I want to be on that can make a difference…. I’ve no interest in being a hurler on the ditch,” he added.

Renua’s performance in the 2016 general election did not see the party return any TDs after founder Lucinda Creighton lost her Dáil seat, but the party secured enough votes to receive state funding.

Sipo records show that the party received funding of €218,744 in 2016 and €258,596 in 2017.

In the 2017 figures, the largest portion of Renua’s allocation went to General Administration (€88,618) and Policy Formulation (€65,444).

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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