Renua is essentially a split of from the governing Fine Gael. It has a very loose whip system, or really none at all for the most part, meaning that most of what they promise in their manifesto isn’t necessarily what you’ll be getting if you vote for them.
It is the most right-wing of all the main political parties running in the election, placed on the centre-right to right-wing of the political spectrum. It is socially conservative, generally more so than Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, and is economically liberal and traditionalist.
It emerged from the expulsion of a number of Fine Gael representatives for breaking the party whip by voting against the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill in 2013 on anti-abortion grounds. Surprisingly Renua TDs will be given a free vote on the abortion issue, despite this being the main cause of the parties founding.
Party representatives have generally taken conservative stances on social issues, with many members opposing same-sex marriage and abortion rights.
They make the claim that their policies will be evidence based, but from reading their manifesto simply isn’t the case. They want standardised education right from pre-school age, which has been proven to be ineffective and in many ways damaging. They want marketisation and privatisation of healthcare and education, which has also proven to be ineffective, damaging to education, and unnecessarily costly, as has been proven in the UK in recent decades. This, along with their tax policy of a flat tax of 23% instead of burden-sharing proportional taxation, will leave low and middle earners worse off than before.
Barnardos has ranked them the worst of the main parties when it comes to childcare services based on their policy proposals. On crime their policies again go against evidence that suggests rehabilitation is much more effective at reducing crimes than simply introducing harsher prison sentences and no-tolerance policies, which is what they are proposing.
They essentially advocate a disproven market-liberal approach that relies on low taxation, resulting in poor public services, and the proven-to-be non-existent trickle down effect of wealth.
The party has also been caught out on hypocrisy. Party Leader Lucinda Creighton has made the claim that the party is representing a new type of politics, a move away from cronyism and personality politics. However, the party largely relies on the profile and personality of Lucinda Creighton herself, and the party President is Eddie Hobbs, a celebrity TV financial advisor.
The lack of a tough whip system like that of other parties gives TDs, councillors and Senators of the party the positive ability to act independently, and hopefully in the interests of their constituents, on an array of issues. However, if their representatives stay voluntarily loyal to the party, the above policies will be supported by them.