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Saturday 3 December 2016

Lucinda targeting 10 Dail seats and a share of power in a coalition

politics

Lucinda Creighton who unveiled the name of her new political party Renua Ireland
Lucinda Creighton who unveiled the name of her new political party Renua Ireland

RENUA Ireland will have at least 10 TDs after the next election and be in the running for a role in government, it has been claimed.

That is the view of the fledgling party's deputy leader, Wicklow TD Billy Timmons, who said his party completed all hurdles to formally register just last week.

Mr Timmons said the party's volunteer members continue to complete the widest range of policy documents while prioritising their first electoral test, the Carlow-Kilkenny by-election on May 22 next.

"If a general election was called immediately we could produce policies across areas like the economy, education, environment, transport and all the issues which matter to voters," he said.

By-election

Mr Timmons is campaign director for the Carlow-Kilkenny by-election, and claimed there were ongoing efforts by both Fine Gael and Fianna Fail to "marginalise" their candidate, the Kilkenny-based councillor, Cllr Patrick McKee.

Mr McKee's recruitment on March 31 was deemed something of a local coup. The 24-year-old trainee solicitor was a rising star in Fianna Fail and his name was linked with the by-election for his former party, though the nomination went to former TD, Bobby Aylward.

But both Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have characterised the contest as being between them alone. The Fine Gael candidate is Cllr David Fitzgerald.

"But we have a young and very different candidate, well known in his native Kilkenny city, getting better known in county Kilkenny and prepared to campaign hard in Carlow also. People will see he is a force to be reckoned with," Mr Timmons said.

The new party formally launched on March 13 last with just three TDs - party leader, Lucinda Creighton, Mr Timmons and Dublin North East TD Terrence Flanagan.

Mr Timmons said the current TDs were all standing again and hopeful that they will retain their seats and contacts were continuing with prospective candidates in many of the 40 constituencies.

Bargaining

He said the new party aimed to have a role in government which could come if the outgoing coalition fall short of a majority.

"But we will drive a hard bargain based on policy," he said.

Leinster House sources said the most likely contenders include Cllr John Leahy, Offaly; Jonathan Irwin Kildare South; Cllr Ronan McMahon of Dublin South West; and Cllr Patrick McKee of Carlow-Kilkenny, irrespective of the by-election outcome.

Others include Waterford hotelier, Ms Mailo Power and Shane Dunphy in Wexford.

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