By Susan Gately - 03 April, 2019
New Irish party hoping to field 70 candidates. “Aontú means unity. We hope to heal the divisions that exist in Irish society,” says Aontú leader, Deputy Peadar Toibín.
Pro-life politicians are set to launch campaigns this week ahead of the local elections on 24 May. This will be the first election since the referendum that removed the right to life of the pre-born child from the Constitution.
Ireland’s newest political party, Aontú, will field the greatest number of pro-life candidates. The all-Ireland party, formally launched in January 2019, will have its national launch this Saturday 6 April at the Ballyfermot Community Civic Centre, which has a capacity for around 600 people.
Aontú founder and leader, Peadar Toibín TD, told CatholicIreland.net that he hoped the hall would be full. “We’ve done 40 meetings across the country and some of those have had up to 350 people,” he said, admitting though that it could be hard “to get people up to Dublin”.
So far the party has 60 candidates lined up to contest the elections, covering most of Ireland’s 31 county/city councils, but Deputy Toibín said he believed the number would rise to 70. The candidates are to be profiled at Saturday’s national launch, which runs from 1.00 p.m. to 2.30 p.m. at the Ballyfermot venue.
“The main message I will be giving will be to seek to break the group think of the establishment in this country,” he told CatholicIreland.net. “All the political parties are on the exact same page on a whole range of issues. There is a whole section of Irish society that is not being represented. Aontú means unity and we hope to heal the divisions that exist in Irish society.”
An example of this is the division between the capital and the regions, which needs to be healed, he said. “The massive difficulties with regard to people who have no access to housing, to healthcare, to a living wage – that needs to be resolved. And also those people who stand for the right to life who have no voice in Leinster house – we need to give them a voice as well.”
At local level the new party looked for “further devolution of power from central government to local councils first and foremost, and then we want to make sure that there is proper housing, proper infrastructure. Much of regional Ireland is stuck with regards to the lack of infrastructure – from roads to broadband,” he added.
Meanwhile in Castlebar last night, Michael Farrington of Renua Ireland launched his campaign for a seat on Mayo County Council. On Friday 5 April, independent candidate Lee Walsh throws his hat in the ring for a seat on Waterford City Council, and on Saturday 13 April, Neil O’Mahony from Renua Ireland will start his campaign for a seat on Galway City Council.