The term Non-Party according to the Cambridge online dictionary means not involving or related to a political party. However earlier this month, an Independent councillor strongly objected to the term, and called for it to be replaced by Independent on election ballot papers.
South Westmeath’s Cllr. Michael O’Brien told Athlone Municipal District that he introduces himself to people as an Independent and not as non-party.
“The word Independent should go alongside our name, and it will mean that legation needs to be introduced, so a letter should be sent from the municipal district to the Minister for the Environment,” said the Moate based councillor. “At a time when equality is a buzz word, I would ask for equality of members on the ballot paper, and to be given that equality.”
Independent, Cllr. Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran said that he supported the motion, but that Deputy Finian McGrath was unsuccessful about getting the legislation changed in the Dail because of the party in power.
“From now on though, moving forward, non-party should be taken off the ballot paper, and I found that it is not law to have non-party on the ballot paper, so we can get it removed,” said Boxer.
Fianna Fail’s Cllr. Aengus O’Rourke moved the debate onwards by saying that he supported the motion, but would like to see written on the ballot paper – ‘Independent, formerly Fianna Fail’.
Boxer and O’Brien are both former Fianna Fail members.
“You might be Independent yourself, some day,” said O’Brien to O’Rourke.
However Boxer said he took offence with the O’Rourke remark and said that it was unfair, and that he fought for four years to get rid of the “stigma of having Fianna Fail on my name.”
“That is an awful remark, and I ask for it to be withdrawn, and I got a hell of a lot better vote than Cllr. O’Rourke got,” said Boxer.
There was no withdrawal coming, but the council members didn’t put an objection to the motion, so the request will go forward to the government.