Ronan Burke: founder of new party Amhrán Nua

A NEW POLITICAL party, styling itself as an Irish version of the Liberal Democrats in the UK, will be officially formed in the coming weeks.

'Amhrán Nua' is expected to be registered as a political party with the clerk of the Dáil before Christmas and its founding members believe they can rescue the Irish economy through a number of initiatives, including the revival of the ancient 'Tailteann Games'.

Party founder Ronan Burke said, "Amhrán Nua is a political party founded on the principles of transparency and accountability. Like the Liberal Democrats in the UK we could be called radical centrists, although I prefer the practical party myself.

"The concept first came about at the start of the year. From chatting to people online and in general, I was struck by the quantity of great solutions to people's problems that ordinary people have which are being ignored by the people in charge of the country.

"Myself and a few others decided to accumulate all these ideas and concepts into one platform and start off a political party."

Burke, from Galway, is a computer programmer who has also worked in areas like marketing, printing, sales and exporting.

So far Amhrán Nua has 100 fully signed-up members and about 300 who have signed up on the party's website and Facebook site. Burke explained that it needs 300 signatories before it can officially register as a political party and it hopes to complete this process before Christmas.

Explaining the name Amhrán Nua, Burke said, "The first words of the national anthem contain the name 'Fianna Fail'. Our name is a counterpoint to that name. Fianna Fáil has its pluses but it has just become a poster boy for corruption, a lack of transparency, back-room deals and incompetence."

Amhrán Nua plans to develop the country's IT sector and green energy jobs "without looking for foreign direct investment." It also believes it can draw "millions of people from areas such as Irish-America" into Ireland for a revived Tailteann Games event.

This was an ancient sporting event held before the Norman invasion for a 30-day period annually. The GAA attempted to revive the games in 1924, 1928 and 1932 and the new political party believes reviving the games could attract diaspora from all over the world.

Jason Finnerty, chair of the Dublin regional group, said, "Our main plan is to grow the party by getting good activists who are really interested and willing to give up their time. We have already set up regional groups in Dublin, Cork and Galway. Once we grow these regional groups we are hoping to split them into constituency groups and from that we hope to mount general-election campaigns."