No new party… for now – Ross

by Gazette Reporter

FOLLOWING a poll commissioned by Independent Deputy Shane Ross last week to gauge the mood of the electorate, it revealed that if a new political party was introduced Deputy Ross, with 22% of the vote, would be the preferred leader.
The Gazette spoke to Deputy Ross about the possiblity of a new political party.
Deputy Ross said: “I’m talking to politicians about the possibility of an alliance of independents…[our] policies would be to turn the way politics is done in this country upside down [including]; to abolish the party whip and thereby hand power back to the people. You would have people in the Dail voting on legislation according to what they believed in and what their constituents believed in rather than voting with the party.
“It’s absolutely systemic and it would be a revolutionary change in how the Dail operates and would give people an absolutely direct input because anybody elected under a banner of this sort…would be entitled to vote any way they liked without any guidance or pressure from a party.”
He continued: “The insiders would have to be removed from Irish political life, State bodies and everywhere else…a final end to cronyism. Appointments would be made completely differently and the judiciary would not be stuffed with friends of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael… Ireland is run by insiders not by democracy and that would have to end…even from Phil Hogan down all political appointments are down to political favouritism.”
When asked if there would be a leader of this alliance, he said: “I don’t know, nothing like that has been discussed…I want to see an end to Fianna Fail and Fine Gael and their culture basically dominating Irish society and see something utterly new. There’s a great opportunity for that as independents are running at around 25% in the opinion polls and…we should take this opportunity to rid ourselves of our tribal priests, which are Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour.”
When asked if he foresees any resistance, he said: “Yes, tribalism is still very strong and of course there will be massive resistance and there is already but I think we’ve got an opportunity for a breakthrough here.”
So is this opportunity coming on the back of the Irish Water dispute?
“Irish Water is a symptom of the utter frustration and disillusionment of everybody, of what is now a large majority… an awful lot of people marching are completely fed up with the system.”
“We’re not going to get this wrong and we’re not going to be rushed,…It is only exploratory and no decisions of any sort have been made…There’s a kind of energy behind doing something of this sort which I think will be irresistible.
“We have to make a judgement in the coming months as to whether to go ahead with this major initiative or not.
“As far as I can see it won’t be a formal party [but] maybe that will change too.
“There’s a consensus emerging at the moment that at a minimum we would, as a group, present a kind of minimum of principles along the lines I’ve discussed here…
“Beyond that you do what’s necessary to make sure of the stability of the government isn’t threatened every week by sticking to these core principles and allowing freedom on other ones.”

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