With poll after poll showing discontent with the current political establishment, viagra a trend has begun to emerge, site the rise in the vote for Independent candidates. The most recent poll from the Sunday Business Post had them receive 28% of first preferences from the public, while they received 25% in a Sunday Times poll from the same day.

While in theory this would lead one to assume that there will be a massive body of Independent deputies in the next Dáil, in reality when a general election comes many expect that vote to drop off. A combination of factors plays into this; candidates from outside the main parties do not receive the same airtime on television and radio during general elections as those from the establishment and do not have a national party structure backing them in terms of personnel, equipment and, above all, finances. It is also often the case that while a voter may state their intention to vote independent in a poll, it may be because the idea of voting independent conjures thoughts of a prominent independent politician from another constituency, like Shane Ross or Stephen Donnelly. Oftentimes they may not hold their local independent candidate in the same esteem. It is also worthwhile to note that often these polls group small parties in with independents, inflating the independents’ numbers. In the most recent polls the Green Party took between two and three per cent, the Anti-Austerity Alliance took one per cent of the vote and the People Before Profit Alliance also took one per cent; often those numbers will join that of the independents which would leave them seeming to take more than they have in reality.

However these facts have not escaped the notice of several high profile independent politicians and there are now two separate groups supposedly working behind the scenes to form a new party to capitalise on the public’s current good will towards independent candidates, while also exploiting the negativity felt towards the establishment.  The first name that often comes to mind for most people when it comes to starting a new party is former Fine Gael Junior Minister Lucinda Creighton. The Dublin South-East TD has been leading a group of former Fine Gael Oireachtas members, who refer to themselves as the Reform Alliance, since they lost the party whip for opposing the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act. Creighton has remained coy on the issue of turning the group into anything more than a loose alliance. While she has dismissed claims that she is actively seeking to form a new party, she has admitted on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics that was not interested in being a “sole trader”. “All I can say is that I am very much inclined to try and find a way to work with others and to put something before the Irish people that they can see as being different from the existing political parties, that they can see as offering them a new vision for the country”, she told the programme.  It is understood that she would prefer not to enter into the general election in the new Dublin Bay South constituency as an independent candidate.

Meanwhile, prominent Independent TD for Dublin South Shane Ross has made noises about setting up some form of new political movement. It is understand that the group in question would not be a political party, but rather Ross is seeking to create a platform for similarly minded independents to express their vision for the country. Ross has claimed to have met with several independent politicians, with the intention of meeting a long list of councillors over the next while, and claims that around a quarter of councillors contacted so far are indeed interested in forming some form of coalition. In a letter to interested councillors, Ross stated that “recent events such as the Senate byelection debacle, the Irish Water fiasco and the political parties’ chronic cronyism have energised Independents more than ever into uniting behind a common banner”. Most notable of Ross’s allies in this venture is the political father of the Dáil Technical Group, TD Finian McGrath, who told the Sunday papers that ‘”if you were a gambling man you should put your money on the likelihood that a critical mass of Independents will come together before the next election”.

Diarmuid Burke