The face of the political landscape is set to change dramatically as the country gears up for next year’s General Election.
The emergence of Independent public representatives both at local and national level over the past 10 months has signalled real change. However, the news this week that a new political party is about to come on stream means ‘all’s changed, changed utterly’.
Last Friday, former Fine Gael TD Lucinda Creighton announced the establishment of her new party and informed the nation that it would field at least one candidate in every constituency in the next general election.
The party will be officially launched in the spring, following a nationwide tour by Deputy Creighton.
A series of public meetings will also be held throughout the country in the run-up to the next election.
Meanwhile, Roscommon-South Leitrim’s Deputy Denis Naughten (Ind) has already indicated that he will not be joining Ms Creighton’s new party. However, the Roscommon TD says the government parties who were elected on a mandate for change have now squandered an opportunity to implement that change.
“People have had enough of political parties; last time round the electorate was actually prepared to give Fine Gael and Labour a chance and then when they got into power it was more of the same ol’, same ol’,” Deputy Naughten told the Leader.
“There is no difference between the established parties and people have had enough.”
He went on to say that the Irish political system was damaged beyond repair and the political establishment ruined.
“The political establishment has lost touch with the people it represents.
“The system is broken and has been broken for a long time now and the reality is now, that, people have had enough of political parties,” he continued.
With a real opportunity now for Independent candidates to sign up for a run in next year’s General Election, will the electorate get it right next time round?
Deputy Naughten seems to think so, but only if Independent candidates “get their act together”.
“The real challenge for Independent TDs is when they get into Dáil Eireann and how can they impact after that,” added the local TD.
“Independents across the country need to get their act together and rise to the challenge that has presented itself.”
Already, one Longford man, Gerry Warnock, has declared his intention to run as an Independent in the next election an d there is speculation that at least one more Longford independent will enter the fray.