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Peadar Tóibín denies new party will be 'one-issue' movement

Peadar Tóibín
Image caption Peadar Tóibín resigned from Sinn Féin last month over the issue of abortion

A TD (member of the Irish parliament) who resigned from Sinn Féin over abortion has said his new political movement will "not be a one-issue party".

Peadar Tóibín, the TD for Meath West, is holding public meetings across Ireland.

He said he is seeking to create a new republican, anti-abortion party.

Mr Tóibín has said he is in discussion with 25 elected representatives from "all political backgrounds".

The new, as yet unnamed, party intends to contest next May's council elections in Northern Ireland, The Irish News has reported.

'25 elected representatives'

Like Sinn Féin, which voted to change its position on abortion earlier this year, it will take seats in any Stormont government but not at Westminster.

Among those to come out in support of Mr Tóibín in recent weeks is Declan McGuinness, the brother of the late Sinn Féin deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness.

Francie and Anne Brolly, a husband and wife who represented Sinn Féin at assembly and council level, and who also quit the party over its stance on abortion, have backed the formation of a new party.

Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster's Evening Extra programme, Mr Tóibín said he had been in talks with "Sinn Féin members and also people within Fianna Fáil and the SDLP" but declined to name names.

"I am talking to 25 elected representatives across the island of Ireland," he said.

Image copyright RTE
Image caption Sinn Féin voted to change its policy on abortion at a party conference in Belfast in June

"It would be foolish of me to name any of those individuals while they are making up their minds."

The TD was twice suspended by Sinn Féin in recent years for defying its policy on abortion, before leaving the party last month amid claims he had been frozen out over his anti-abortion views.

"Most of the political parties are seeking to inhabit exactly the same space and time on a range of different issues," said Mr Tóibín.

"Opposition is not the enemy, it is a really important part of a functioning democracy."

Mr Tóibín denied that his new party would be a one-issue movement and added that they would have policies on a range of issues.

"I understand that there has been a change in society in the last number of years.

"I will seek to reduce the number of abortions that happen through law and also make sure that women feel they have the economic confidence necessary to be able to raise their children."

The party held a meeting in Navan, County Meath, last week and plan to have a public event in Maghera on Thursday 13 December.

Mr Tóibín said the party intends to get itself fully set up and select candidates in January for next year's council elections.

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