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READ: Shane Ross calls on independents to 'change Irish politics radically'

The TD says he’s after a “common crusade” but not a new party – yet.

Shane Ross letter independent new political party How intriguing. Source: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

DUBLIN SOUTH TD Shane Ross has written to independent councillors across the country ahead of the new Dáil term, suggesting the formation of an alliance or even a new political party to “end the iron grip of the main political parties.”

In a letter which was sent out to all independent councillors on Monday, the deputy proposes a “meeting of like-minded independents”, with a view to “challenging the big parties as [the] 2016 [general election] approaches.”

Whatever your views, if the opportunity to change Irish politics is there, I think it should be grasped now.
It seems that many of us elected as independents share a common objective of ending the iron grip held over the political system by the main political parties.
Opinion polls indicate that NOW could be the time for a breakthrough.

Source: Click here to view a larger version

Speaking to TheJournal.ie this morning, Ross stressed that the move was “exploratory”, and played down talk of a formal alliance or new party before the next general election.

I don’t know what will come of this, but hopefully it will be something constructive.
The local elections showed an upsurge in protest against tribalism, and I want to see if there is an interest out there in radically changing Irish politics.

“We’re not looking towards the general election yet,” he said, but added that he was seeking a “common crusade” among independent elected officials.

Independents are a very disparate group, but I see no reason why on some issues we couldn’t all form under one umbrella.

Referendum on Irish Banking Crisis Independent TDs Stephen Donnelly (R) and Shane Ross (L) Source: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Fingal County Councillor Cian O’Callaghan, who shared the letter through his Twitter account this morning, was unmoved by Ross’s invitation to meet, telling TheJournal.ie:

I won’t be meeting with him.
I’m already working with others on the Left to form an alternative.

In Limerick, independent councillor John Gilligan also received the TD’s letter.

While he doesn’t necessarily see himself as of a “like mind” with Ross, he told TheJournal.ie he wouldn’t rule out considering the proposal:

I would always consider myself a republican socialist, but I wouldn’t be totally against an alliance of independents.
The approach of the big parties seems to be to isolate independents, unless you’re their puppet, so it mightn’t be a bad thing to have a coherent voice, at least on certain issues.

Ross’s letter this week comes after a consultation process which began earlier this year.

In February, TheJournal.ie reported that Ross had sent an email to a handful of trusted supporters, asking for their advice on whether the time was right for a new political movement.

The Independent Network, a loose alliance of left-leaning independents, met before May’s local elections to share campaign advice and support.

Both Shane Ross and Stephen Donnelly TD, were represented at the workshop.

Read: There’s a lot of talk, but a new political party is not imminent. Here’s why…>

Shane Ross asks supporters: Is the time right for a new political movement?>

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Dan MacGuill

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