Irish 'political alliance' planned by independent TDs
A number of independent members of the Irish parliament (TDs) have said they are planning to form a new "independent alliance" ahead of the next election.
They include the high-profile TD Shane Ross. He said the alliance would not be a political party in the traditional sense, but would "uproot" politics.
He said it would be "policy driven" and members would be given freedom to speak and vote independently on most issues.
The state broadcaster, RTÉ, said eight other TDs were supporting the project.
Its Prime Time programme named the interested members as Michael Fitzmaurice, Denis Naughten, Finian McGrath, Stephen Donnelly, Noel Grealish, John Halligan, Mattie McGrath and Tom Fleming.
Mr Ross told the programme: "What we are going to do is combine our forces and work in the interests of reform, work in the interests of the people and work to absolutely uproot politics in this country in a very, very radical way."
The independent TD said the leadership of the alliance had not been discussed and was "not even an issue".
He was asked how a group, with such a wide range of views, could unite under a policy platform.
"If we set up a normal political party, which I have no intention of being a member of, then you would be right to say that," Mr Ross said.
"But if we set up an independent alliance, where there is a huge amount of freedom, where people can vote and speak as they like on most issues - bar a set of principles which will be non-negotiable if we get into a position of being pivotal in government negotiations - if we set up to give them that freedom, we'll change the whole face of the Dáil [Irish parliament].
"We'll make the Dáil actually relevant," he said.
Mr Ross is also a journalist and author and has written books that were highly critical of the Irish banking industry and the public sector.
Earlier this week, the former Irish government minister Lucinda Creighton announced plans to launch a new political party in the spring.
She said more than 100 people were working on plans for the new party that she hoped would "reboot Ireland".