In January TD Lucinda Creighton and economist Eddie Hobbs announced their plans to create a new political party in Ireland. Today Lucinda Creighton officially launched Renua Ireland.
The former Junior Minister was expelled from Fine Gael in 2013 after she defied the party whip and voted against The Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill. However, this new party does not take a pro-life stance, but rather an open position on abortion. Speaking at the launch in Trinity College’s Science Gallery earlier today, she said: We believe in encouraging independence of thought, we believe in challenging consensus”. According to Deputy Creighton, the party has an open position in all matters of conscience. Speaking to TheJournal.ie in January, Eddie Hobbs also confirmed that the party would have no whip on matters of social conscience.
At the launch 16 of the party’s proposals for change were announced. Among these were: the publication of all Cabinet meetings within 48 hours of them taking place, limited terms for ministers, parental leave (rather than just maternity leave) and a network of community based child care facilities. However, Lucinda Creighton admitted that they may change along with the party.
According to Deputy Creighton, Renua is quickly gaining support. She said that so far 180 people have applied to be candidates for the party in the next election, while 3,500 people have signed up to the website to get involved. She also stated that she met 1,000 volunteers at nine events around the country.
So far the list of declared candidates published on Renua’s website features many names that are already well known within Irish politics, including:
- TD Lucinda Creighton, of course
- Economist Eddie Hobbs
- Offaly County Councillor John Leahy (former Independent)
- Senator Paul Bradford (Deputy Creighton’s husband and former Fine Gael member)
- Wicklow TD Billy Timmins (former Independent)
- Dublin TD Terence Flanagan (former Fine Gael TD, who was also expelled for defying the party whip in 2013)
- Councillor for Dublin South-West, Ronan McMahon (former Independent)
Lucinda Creighton also spoke of open politics at the launch: “We have a newly engaged citizen in Ireland… The problem is that politics is way behind, and politics now needs to catch up. There is a need to liberate the country from a politics of broken promises, failed policies and hopelessly inadequate structures. It’s time to embrace a new form of politics, a style of politics that will inspire a different conversation, a real conversation, not just about economics, but about the sort of society we want to see… Renua is different in absolutely every respect to the old way of doing business.”
There has been a lot of conversation surrounding Renua today, but not everyone would agree with its claim of being different. Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has described Renua as “a repackaged Fine Gael”.
“While I welcome Lucinda’s new party on to the political playing field, I believe that there is little space for another conservative party on the right of Ireland’s political divide… Ireland simply has no appetite for a repackaged Fine Gael Party. People are crying out for alternative politics, not more of the same,” commented Ms. Boylan.
The Twitter handle ‘RenuaIreland‘ was snapped up by non-supporters of the new party earlier today. It has been posting negative tweets about the party since and its logo is ‘DejaVua: Ireland’s New PDs’.
The actual name of the party has been getting a lot of criticism on social media too, with people thinking Renua would be better suited to a cleaning product or a plastic surgery clinic. While the Urban Dictionary has a very, very different definition of the word Renua.
— Lucinda Creighton (@LCreighton) March 13, 2015
Photo source: European People’s Party