Grealish ‘interested’ but not yet convinced by Shane Ross’s alliance

Independent Galway West TD Noel Grealish pictured with fellow Independent and former PD colleague Terry O'Flaherty.

Independent Galway West TD Noel Grealish pictured with fellow Independent and former PD colleague Terry O'Flaherty.

Noel Grealish is reluctant to join any new alliance of Independent centrist TDs, currently being touted by deputies Finian McGrath and Shane Ross, until there is a plan in place and definite ideas on what such an alliance stands for.

Deputies Ross and McGrath have been sourcing fellow centre, centre-right, and soft-Left Independents over recent weeks with a view to forming a new alliance, and among the people in their sights is Independent Galway West TD Noel Grealish.

Dep Grealish has had one face-to-face and three over the phone discussions with Dep Ross, but is adamant “no formal discussions over a new alliance” have taken place.

Despite claims by some media, he has not allied himself with, or given any commitment to join, the alliance, until issues such as the alliance’s make-up and its policy goals are properly explored.

“There is a foundation to put something in place and I am interested,” Dep Grealish told the Galway Advertiser, “but a number of questions have to be answered - What kind of alliance are we talking about? How do we put a strategy together? What kind of platform are we standing on?”

It has been mooted that Independent councillors could also join the new alliance, but Dep Grealish is asking if this mean all 186 Independent councillors in the State - a possibility given the broad scope of political opinion the putative alliance could accommodate.

“I think they are moving too fast with this,” said Dep Grealish. “Everybody needs to slow down and think about what needs to be done. Currently there is no road map on how to go forward. Nothing has been formally agreed.”

It is understood Dep Grealish will meet Dep Ross tomorrow to further discuss issues around the proposed alliance.

The difficulties in putting this particular alliance together, given its a mix of left and right and competing political points of view, are highlighted by the fact that Independent Wicklow TD Stephen Donnelly, whom deputies Ross and McGrath are interested in having join the alliance, is of the view that a new political party should be formed.

It is understood that Deputies Ross and McGrath are reluctant to go down this road and many of the TDs being touted as potential members are determined to contest next year’s General Election as Independents and not under any party banner. Such divisions over the nature of the alliance could see it scuppered before it even gets off the ground.

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