The leader of Aontu, Peadar Toibin TD has opened up about the emotional impact of leaving his former party, Sinn Fein, after 21 years.

Speaking to Abie Philbin Bowman for the season finale of the RTE podcast "Humans of Politics", Deputy Toibin suggested that one of the main forces keeping people in political parties is personal friendships.

"Sinn Fein is a party on its own, and because of its experience, and its 'us against the rest of the world' type instinct... I would have a lot of people that are not speaking to me, even still."

Deputy Toibin also recalled his political awakening, watching the Hunger Strikes, and wondering "why these ten men had gone and starved themselves to death".

"All of the people who toiled and slogged for me, for 20-30 years, will just never speak to me again"

His parents didn't approve. "I remember, I brought An Phoblacht back into the home, at 14 years old, and my mother clipping me across the head with it and saying 'never bring that back into this house ever again'."

Peadar Tobin also spoke about the challenge of building a new party from scratch.

"It's absolutely phenomenally hard... We're building at a massive rate but we're doing it on the fumes of gas."

You can hear the full conversation in the 'Humans of Politics' podcast on RTÉ Radio Player , Apple PodcastsSpotify, Google Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts (RSS Feed).