Aontú party public meeting set for Armagh

February 4, 2019

The newly established political party set up by former Sinn Fein TD Peadar Toibín will hold a public meeting tonight (Monday 4th February) in the Armagh City Hotel.

The new All-Ireland Movement, which has been given the name Aontú, is gaining momentum around the country, according to Mr Tóibín, who will address the Armagh event.

Ahead of the meeting, he praised the level of public support already being experienced by the fledgling party and revealed nine currently elected representatives have defected from other political parties.

He said: “We are blown away by the level of support. Three thousand people have already attended our meetings around the country. There is an avalanche of people who are getting in contact with us. Many of these people, who are from a Sinn Fein, SDLP, Fianna Fáil background are seriously frustrated with the leaderships of their parties. Many are saying to us that their leaders are actively doing damage to their core values. They are saying that their leaders are going in the wrong direction.

“Some have said that due to the length of time that they have been members of their parties and the close ties of friendship and comradeship that they are cautious about leaving. I understand that feeling all too well. But political parties are not social clubs. Political activism is much too important. If you are a member of a party that is actively doing damage to your core values, you are complicit in that damage.”

Focusing on the SDLP, he continued: “The anger in the SDLP is palpable. The level of disrespect and ignorance being displayed by FF [Fianna Fáil] Headquarters to SDLP members is amazing. They are leaving them [to] decay while waiting in limbo for a decision that may never come. FF headquarters give them enough to keep them hanging on but will never make a decision.

“At these meetings it’s like watching a pressure cooker valve being released at meetings. People are saying that they have no one to vote for, that all the parties are uniform on so many issues. The truth is respectful opposition is not the enemy, it’s an important part of a health a democracy.

“Many people in the north are in food poverty, housing poverty and poor access to health care. Yet Stormont is in stalemate for over 2 years. The Good Friday Agreement was a great success but the institutions with in it are not working.  We need to put an end to the dysfunction.”

Describing Aontú as “an All-Ireland party” Mr Toibín says its aim is to seek “self-determination and Irish independence north and south”. 

“It is our view that that Sinn Féin has narrowed the space in which people can participate. We will be broader Republican party with room for Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter,” he said.  “In recent months the leadership of Sinn Fein have threatened that the “North is Next” with regards on demand abortion services. Many genuine republicans and nationalists have been shocked by the radical change that has happened within the SF and SDLP leadership in just a few short years.

 “We believe that all human .life should be protected and that no mother or child should be left behind. We seek to protect the most vulnerable in society at all stages of life. We believe that all of the necessary economic and social supports must be provided to mothers and families to ensure that they know that they can raise their children in confidence.  I would greatly encourage people from all political backgrounds and none to seize this opportunity and help build this new All-Ireland movement.”