Who is really spurning the Reform Alliance?

Independent deputies, Shane Ross and Stephen Donnelly

Shame, again, on the Irish Times for a headline overloaded with hostile prejudice. How did polite refusals like those of Stephen Donnelly, Shane Ross and others become a “spurn”?
“Senior Independents in Leinster House”, the paper told us this morning, “are set to spurn an invitation to attend the first Reform Alliance conference, dealing a blow to the effort by the dissident Fine Gael group to expand its political base.”

“TDs Stephen Donnelly and Shane Ross, and Senators Katherine Zappone and and Feargal Quinn, have all said they will not attend the event in Dublin on Saturday week. Neither will they be joining the alliance.” wrote Arthur Beesley. The independents in question should be on the phone to complain to him.

What Mr Donnelly, who had expressed an interest in attending the event, said yesterday was that,while he would not go along. “I wish them the very best and I think anything which challenges the the cartel that is Irish politics is welcome,” Spurn? Doesn’t sound like spurning to me.

Mr Ross, TD for Dublin South, for his part said he would be delighted to discuss any ideas with the Reform Alliance but not in a “formal atmosphere” that would be interpreted as giving “formal support” to the group. That sounds very reasonable and fair. Again, I don’t hear any spurning there.

Mr Quinn said he had not been invited to join and had no intention to do so. “I intend to retire from the Seanad at the end of the current term – otherwise, I’ll get a divorce,” he said.

It seems to me that all the spurning is being done by the Irish Times itself. Could it be that there is a conflict of interest between the Reform Alliance’s agenda for open and honest politics and this formerly great newspaper’s agenda for molding its own kind of Ireland?

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