New political party, Aontú has recruited over twenty five Clare members following its first public meeting in the county.
34 people attended Wednesday’s meeting at Treacy’s West County Hotel, farmers, teachers, business men and women were among the crowd, approximately 15 of those present were retired individuals. Local organisers of the party confirmed to The Clare Echo that between 25 to 30 people became signed membership forms at the meeting.
Founded by Meath West TD and former Sinn Féin member, Peadar Tóibín, Aontú has indicated it’s main party policies are a United Ireland, economic justice, right to life and regional development. “This is the start of something that I believe will be very strong,” was his opening remark in Ennis. “I reckon 9 elected representatives have declared for the party, we have taken the national media by surprise, they didn’t expect us to get as much traction”.
A father of two, Peadar revealed that if either of his children were to ask them should they join Sinn Féin, “I would say no”. “Ireland’s political culture is broken, it was a very difficult thing to resign,” he said. “Political parties are not a social club or a football club who you follow depending on how they are going, political activism is much more important”.
In calling for a United Ireland, Tóibín outlined, “We believe in self-determination, we will make better decisions if we are a self-governing nation”. Regarding their policy on economic justice, he felt “small to medium sized businesses are the poor relation”. More regional development is another area the party are keen to advocate for, “Our country has become a city state, the average age in Clare is 43, in Ballybriggan is 30”, he suggested Ireland following the Danish example with Aarhus in creating balance across the country.
“We are the only political party with elected representatives that are 100 percent pro life. Our right to life is a positive right to life”. Peadar stated that Aontú wanted to “create an economic confidence that they (pregnant women) can financially bring a child to term”. He claimed more girls than boys were aborted and the aggression in Leinster House at the time of the debate “was the worst I have ever seen”.
Questions from the floor focused on farming, energy, the European Union, the Irish language, refugees, jobs, identity, the media and recruiting members of the Oireachtas.