The leader of a new political party that spans both Ireland and Northern Ireland promised to uphold the right to life as a key value at the party’s launch on Tuesday.
The new party, Aontú, is headed by Peadar Toibin, an Irish politician who was suspended from the Sinn Fein party two times for breaking with the party line on legalized abortion, which it favored.
“It is unbelievable that Aontú is the only party that stands up for the human right to life,” Tóibín said at the launch of his party’s manifesto, according to the BBC.
Abortion was legalized in the Republic of Ireland just last year. Abortion remains illegal in Northern Ireland, which is a part of the UK, except in cases where a mother’s life is in danger.
“Aontú want to make sure that there is a real voice and a real alternative for many people who feel that they have no-one to vote for,” Tóibín added at the launch. “We are simply saying that this is a core value for ourselves, and we won't let you down on this issue.”
“Aontú” roughly translates in English to “unification” or “agreement.”
The party will have 16 candidates on ballots this week during Northern Ireland’s local council elections, the BBC reports.
At the party launch, Tóibín said that he wanted to offer an alternative option from the mainstream parties, and that Aontú was more in touch with the people of Ireland at the grassroots level.
Toibin told reporters in November that he wanted to give a voice to the 34% of people who voted to keep abortion illegal in the Republic of Ireland, and to make sure that pro-life people were not marginalized.
Michael Kelly, editor of the newspaper The Irish Catholic, told CNA in November that Ireland was “crying out” for a new political movement that would protect the right to life.
Toibin added at the launch of the party’s manifesto that Aontú supports a unified Ireland, and a “strong all-Ireland economy” as a solution to problems that could arise due to Brexit, the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.