The Irish Independents – but where are ours for #AE11?

One of the fascinating features of the Republic’s general election has been the prominence – and success – of a wide range of independents.

Colourful characters aplenty will be in the new Dáil Éireann – from the nationally known business journalist Senator Shane Ross, to Luke Flanagan, ‘Ming the Merciless’, the marijuana-smoking mayor of Roscommon. Then there’s millionaire property developer / man of the people Mick Wallace, whose pink football shirts and posters and flowing white locks, brought some colour to the Wexford election. And let’s not forget articulate anti-war campaigner and councillor Richard Boyd-Barrett, who will no doubt be relishing the prospect of taking his talents from Dún Laoghaire to the Dáil chamber.

At least for entertainment value – and, hopefully, lots more besides – any one of them is worth a dozen of the grey suits to whom we have become accustomed.

In all, there were over two hundred independents (or members of loose alliances like ULA) running in the election – including 23 year-old Jedward look-a-like Dylan Haskins (you gotta love his animated campaign video – slick). A more than decent number (17 out of 154 as I type this) having been elected.

So what about the NI Assembly elections – where are our independents?

Of course, we have had Tyrone hospital campaigner Dr Kieran Deeny for a couple of terms now. And we’re likely to have a few ex-party representatives doing a solo run this time – Dawn Purvis in East Belfast and Alan McFarland in North Down. I imagine Eamonn McCann might even be persuaded to take another run out for People not Profit in Foyle.

But where else are we to find our independents for #AE11? Where are our Shanes, Mings, Micks and Dylans?

  • The Raven

    I think they’re coming, and I think the election after next will see more of them. It will just take four more years of general ennui with the current crop of parties, and people – especially younger people – will just have had enough.

    I swiped this from a Guardian piece: “According to the Electoral Commission, 22% of students are not even registered to vote in the coming election. In 2005, national turnout was 61%, compared with 37% among 18- to 24-year-olds, down by two points from 2001. Worse still, the commission fears that the last two historically low turnouts, combined with younger age groups being much less likely to consider voting a civic duty, suggest the beginning of a cohort effect whereby the non-voting intention is carried forward into later life.”

    Of course, getting the ball in the back of the net is all that matters to politicians. So they don’t mind that the younger ones don’t vote. Heaven forbid that the blinkers of Troubles life having fallen from – or indeed never existed in – their young eyes means that they might vote for something other than the bile and vitriol to which we have become accustomed and mindlessly follow.

    Personally, I’d love to see independents coming to the fore. But I think it won’t happen for another election.

    Not to generalise, for that is all that ever happens on this site, but if the Greens had any sense, they’d hit the above demographic, and hit it hard.

  • Mack

    Richard Boyd Barret isn’t an independent. He’s SWP/ PBP which is part of the ULA. While Unite Left Alliance may be a loose alliance the Socialist Workers Party / People Before Profit Aliance is a proper Trotskyist movement surely?

  • Drumlins Rock

    Might I suggest they are all members of the ABFF party? That might partly account for their success.

  • Mack


    Nah, some of them were elected as FF last time out, others supported the government one way or the other.

  • Behaner

    RBB has worked his way up the ladder from blackrock college,i’m sure the revolutionary trots wil now abandon the revolution theyve been runnin in fantasy land and adapt a rather positive pro-social democratic economic philosaphy that will appeal to all n sundry.role on the gangway.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Sending Ming to Dáil was similar to entering Dustin the Turkey in the Eurovision Song Contest.
    A good joke but it will wear off.
    Hes a dress code violation waiting to happen.

    Likewise Michael Healy Rae…..perhaps an all Ireland Culchie Party (although no doubt some Sluggerites will say there already is one).
    But deep down Norn Irons “socialists” (usual suspects excepted) dont actually DO anything. Our “lefties” are far too lazy.
    And while the Republic has right wing nut jobs……we have them at a much more organised level.

  • USA

    While the above mentioned 23 year old Dylan Haskins didn’t get elected in Dublin South East, he did manage to get more votes than the Sinn Fein candidate. That is awful for SF, a few heads will roll.

  • Pat –go for it! It could be you!!

  • Cynic2

    Is it because we generally regard our politicians in de Nurth as sectarian bigots?

    My impression is clearly that the quality of candidates here is below par, especially at the leadership level.

    Politics here just doesn’t attract people of real quality and experience who have done things / run major organisations/ have significant skills outside stiffing the opposition. What independent in their right mind would put up with it?

  • Drumlins Rock

    I know Cynic, if only we had Cowan, Kenny & Gilmore leading us over the last 4 year things would have been so much better…

  • Greenflag

    After the success of ‘independents ‘ in the Republic expect a rash of ‘independents ‘ come May for the NI Assembly .

    They will of course provide an eh ‘northern ‘flavour ‘ . There will of course have to be Protestant Independents , Catholic Independents, Unionist Independents , Republican Independents, Nationalist , Ecumenical , and Atheist Independents , Orange Order Independents and Green and Alliance independents not forgetting the Pentecostal Indies and the Battle of the Somme survivors Independents .

  • Drumlins Rock

    you may think that Greeny, but on paper you are just independant, cant use anything else, as Rodney Connor discovered it causes confusion and cost him the Westminster seat.

  • Munsterview

    Fitz : ‘Ming’ may be a colorful candidate but he is also a very serious and seasoned political operator. He also stood up to quite a bit of hassle without a party behind him to give him support !

    Drumlins : Independents ? Jackie Healy Rae was FF back-room for years, when his turn came, the Dublin Hq crowd said no, he was not photogenic enough for a poster and as for his Kerry accent etc. Jackie did a solo run and took quite a bit of the Kerry organization with him.

    Tom Fleming was Fianna Fail, and still is in all but name : John O’Donoghue would not play the game so he took Donoghue out. Most of his quarrels was with O’Donoghue and the local divvying up of power, not with Fianna Fail as a whole and certainly no major policy differences. I would expect Tom back within the FF fold before too long, Donoghue is out and Tom is the new power, politics can be a cruel business, but it also takes cognizance of reality.

    This is just for South Kerry : while the Fianna Fail party have lost two seats, the Fianna Fail gene pool have the same representation that it always had. Michael Healy Rae and Tom Fleming are not the only ‘Independents’ in the same situation either at councillor or TD levels. One particular FF Minister For State when he met a hostile reception distances himself from the organization, agreed that the party leadership and what happened was awful, and then said that he was ‘more or less running as an independent’ Right !

  • Greenflag

    DR ,

    If I recall Rodney Connor was the only Independent or there might have been one other but in some Dail Constituencies the number of independents was in some cases close to 10 or more . When ‘everybody ‘ is independent nobody is independent 😉

    I don’t think Connor’s independent tag cost him the seat was that half a dozen or so Fermanagh or South Tyrone ‘unionist ‘ voters ‘ could’nt be bothered enough to vote . They may have thought that the SDLP intervention would have been enough to skewer Gildernew but as we know in hindsight the SDLP ‘intervention’ just helped to bring out the SF vote in greater number .

    I don’t know where all of these Independents fit on the political spectrum apart from Shane Ross , Ming , and the amazing Mick Wallace of Wexford who is one of the so called hated property developers but who it appears has been in the wars with the banks and thus appealed to a lot of voter instincts right now .

    But if the indies want to be effective in this Dail assuming some don’t end up in ‘coalition’ they will need to form a ‘group ‘ .

  • Greenflag

    Drumlin Rock’

    ‘you may think that Greeny, ‘

    I don’t really it was a tongue in cheek comment with a little gallows humour hanging in the background .I neglected the ;)?

  • Politics is politics“, said Independent Michael Lowry:

    [Mr Lowry] says the school Principal facilitated the distribution of a letter to school pupils to give to their parents, in which he seeks their vote for the work he has done on their behalf.

    Will the cost feature on his election expenses? 😉

  • Greenflag

    Still clingin on to the good ole days ‘

    Dick Roche was not present for the announcement of his elimination in Wicklow, which was greeted with loud applause and cheering.

    A spokesman for Dick Roche said the Fianna Fáil candidate was very disappointed at the outcome of the ballot in Wicklow, but did not rule out further challenges.

    New Wickla joke ‘

    Question :

    What has Dick ‘Cock’ Roche got left in common with Muanmar Ghadaffi

    Answer :

    Fingernails on the edge of the abyss.

  • Greenflag

    re our wwise range of independents

    Stephen Donnelly Independent is in the final hunt for a seat in Wicklow . Here is his ‘propaganda ‘ you tubed and it’s well worth a look at including the last one which shows a level of thinking about the issues at least in some parts that helps explain . I was astonished to hear that of the FG/Lab 154 candidates all but 2 come from backgrounds of ‘professional ‘ politicians i.e no expertise in the ‘real ‘economy .

    I hope Stephen makes it in Wicklow as well as Brady of SF . Timmins and Doyle of FG are assured and both Labour and FF are being made to sweat it out to the final count .

  • Greenflag

    Looks like Donnelly will pip Brady SF for the 5th seat in Wicklow . Brady is well placed to win next time out if he runs .
    SF final total 14 a great result for them . FF transfers seem to favour Donnelly over Brady .

    FF drew a blank in Wicklow a county where they could always rely on at least 2 of the 5 seats . The Minister for Europe Dick Roche eliminated first of the FF team

    FG win 3 of the 5 with Simon Harris of Greystones joining Doyle and Timmins