A former Sinn Féin MLA for Fermanagh South Tyrone is set play a role in the new political party set up by another former Sinn Féin TD.

Gerry McHugh quit the party in 2007 after he became disillusioned with the direction it was taking, but is now set for a return to politics as part of Peadar Tóibín’s new party Aontú.

Mr. Tóibín quit the party last year over opposition to the party’s stance on the abortion issue.

A meeting is due to be held in the Westville Hotel on February 11 with Mr. Tóibín saying there has been strong interest from people in Fermanagh.

“We have had a steady supply of people ringing us every week from Fermanagh looking to get involved,” explained Mr. Tóibín. “And we are very close to setting up a new Cumann in Fermanagh and we expect that to be up and running in the next week.”

The new party already has a Councillor on the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council in the form of Rosemary Shields who left the SDLP and it is expected that she will have more candidates to join her in this year’s council elections in the district.

“We are delighted to have Rosemary join with us because obviously she is a very hard worker but more than that she has the courage to speak her mind and fight for people who are in need of help and that is really important in the current political situation.

“I’m amazed at the anger that exists currently within Fianna Fáil and the SDLP in regards to the fudge that Micheal Martin has brought to the table. It is incredible, that for 20 years Fianna Fáil has promised to stand for election in the north of Ireland. Ard Fheis after Ard Fheis they have passed that objective and each time Micheal Martin fudges it. There is anger within the SDLP too because they have been left to degrade over the last number of years with no investment or impetus and many of those councillors are really not looking forward to going to the doors under the SDLP banner and we are talking to at least six SDLP people across the country at the moment.”

However, Mr. Tóibín was cautious when talking about further potential defects to his party.

“Politicians don’t like to make these decisions under the glare of the media so we have been very cautious but you know we are talking to Sinn Féin, SDLP and Independent representatives in the North at moment.”

Mr. Tóibín has been blown away with the interest shown in his new party with hundreds joining the party every week and he explains what people are to expect if they are at the upcoming Fermanagh meeting.

“There is a serious momentum now in the development of the organisation. We want this party to be a party of activists and grassroots. A lot of other political parties have become very centralised and top down in their decision making and while they might have infrastructure of internal party democracy they don’t have what is necessary.

“I would ask people very, very clearly this; do they want a political system that is imprisoned by group think, where their politicians simply stick their finger up in the air to see which way the wind is blowing and don’t have the confidence to stand what they believe in?

“And I would ask people to get on board and come and listen anyway because they will find that they will be surrounded by many like minded individuals and the energy there is incredible. If they get in on the ground floor they will be able to see this organisation blossom in the future,” he said.