- 21 Feb 18
Having crashed and burned under Lucinda Creighton at the last election, Renua chose John Leahy as their new party leader. Some might see his decision to deny party members the freedom to vote to Repeal the 8th as a cynical attempt to woo the backwater vote. But, as this interview reveals, he is deeply conservative in his views, and believes that Repeal the Eighth will be defeated by rural Ireland’s silent majority. He also suggests that Leo Varadkar should have been in Renua, and discusses his admiration for Donald Trump. Is this the voice of the hidden, old-fashioned Ireland re-emerging?
Renua Ireland was set up in 2015 by the conservative ex-Fine Gael government minister, Lucinda Creighton. After a disastrous General Election in 2016, in which Creighton lost her seat to pro-Choice Fine Gael candidate, Kate O’Connell, the party was effectively wiped out, Creighton duly fell on her sword.
The new leader of the party, John Leahy, has a relatively low – as in virtually non-existent – national profile. But while his face might not be familiar, you’ll probably be seeing a lot more of Leahy over the coming months. He is the only leader of a political party in Ireland who is going to campaign against a woman’s right to choose in the promised referendum to Repeal the 8th. It’s a stance that – like his attitude to gender quotas in politics – will offend many, and which goes against the grain for us here at Hot Press. The magazine has been part of the struggle for women’s rights since its inception 40 years ago. We have also been vocal in campaigning to Repeal the Eighth.
But it should be helpful to hear John Leahy’s views so that pro-choice campaigners will get a further insight into some of the stratagems they’ll come up against. Leahy is married with two children and has been a County Councillor in Offaly since 2009. He’s also the Offaly GAA Coaching & Games Promotion Officer.