Fine Gael rebels are close to establishing a new political party led by former Minister Lucinda Creighton.
The Sunday Independent reports that the proposed Reform Alliance party has registered with Ireland’s Standards in Public Office Commission.
The party is to be headed by Creighton and independent deputy Stephen Donnelly according to the report.
The paper believes the Reform Alliance will be launched in September after local and European elections.
The report says that Creighton and Donnelly have held talks on the formation of the new party in recent weeks.
The Reform Alliance has registered as a ‘third party’ with SIPO to allow it to raise funds for political research and policy development.
The steering group reportedly includes Creighton; her husband, Senator Paul Bradford, deputies Billy Timmins, Denis Naughten, Terence Flanagan and Peter Mathews and Senator Fidelma Healy Eames.
Creighton told the paper: “It is early days but it is about being fully compliant with the rules should we fundraise in order to carry out political research and develop new policy. We want to be a vehicle for new thinking in parliament.”
The report says the former Fine Gael Minister also refused to rule out the possibility of ultimately establishing a fully fledged party. She added: “I can’t say what the future holds.
“You have freedom in what you can say as an independent, but there is also strength in numbers. I am a great believer in party politics.”
After falling out with Fine Gael on the abortion issue, Creighton says she shares common ground with economics expert Donnelly.
She said: “In terms of what he wants to achieve, there is a lot of common ground. On reform, I share a lot of Stephen’s views, there is a lot of shared ground.
“In the coming months, I am happy to co-operate with him and definitely there is an opportunity for us to work together.”
Donnelly has welcomed the progress made by the Reform Alliance in the bid to establish a new political party.
He said: “I would entertain a discussion. I am not sitting here waiting, but I’ll listen.
“There is most undoubtedly a need for a new party, the current system is so old, stale and so badly in need of reform.
“There is a political cartel in Ireland and having a new party to challenge the cartel is a good idea.
“The establishment protects itself very well in Ireland, it’s a very closed system in terms of elites, it would be healthy for democracy if a new party challenged our vested interests.
“This cartel had created the scenario where “huge swathes of the public sector and the political system are stuck in a 1970s style time-warp.”
But Donnelly did warn that Fine Gael rebels need to move away from the abortion issue.
He stated; “They are going to have to work hard to get away from the pro-life single issue, but they have some seriously smart people.
“Lucinda is very smart. The only question is will they achieve a critical mass or will some of them go back into Fine Gael.”