Eurosceptic front-runner in race for the Áras

In the absence of independent Senator David Norris, the former Late Late Show presenter, and current chairman of the Ireland’s Road Safety Authority, Gay Byrne, is reported to be polling ahead of all the declared candidates for Irish President.  And he’s been holding forth on his concerns about the European Union.

“Those concerns are that I think it’s a crazy notion from the very beginning. We crossed the Rubicon when we joined the single currency. I think there’s no backing out now but it’s a mad, mad world and we are being run by mad people in Brussels,” Byrne said.

He was responding to a question about his previous criticism of the EU and the Lisbon Treaty, and whether it might become an issue in a presidential campaign.

Byrne replied that it might but he had not changed his mind.

“What we’re seeing now in Europe, as far as I’m concerned, is a culmination of all my concerns about it down through the years. I never thought we would reach the disastrous stage we are at at the moment in Europe in my lifetime.

“I thought it would eventually come in my grandchildren’s time but it’s come much, much quicker than even I visualised and it’s happening even as we speak.”

A eurosceptic President in Ireland could make the envisaged future developments very interesting indeed…

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  • monaraba

    We need a eurosceptic President to balance the uncritical euroloving political establishment. Though the President is above politics, it would be nice to know that he shares the views of many Irish people at this time. If only our President could speak his mind, but he cannot, of course, on political questions.

  • Munsterview

    Nature abhors a vacuum as the saying goes and it is not surprising that Gabo is catapulted to the fore as in virtually all save sexual matters, he is cut from the same cloth as Norris.

    Gay too is ‘Commonwealth’ and Trinity ‘Elizabethan tea party’ mentality. ( Guinness staff was the cloth cap, overall and braces version) He is not alone suspicious of GAA / Comhtals majority ethos in this country, he is both dismissive of it and opposed to it.

    Gabo has long been part of the ‘insider agenda’ to see this Ireland and its values sidestepped and without influence and torn down. How ironic that Fianna Failed should now back him as these were the very people that did to this majority culture ethos and it’s values what the Bishops did to the Irish Church. Now with typical Fianna Failed oppertunism and shotr termsm, they are about to put the ‘caipin bas’ on this Ireland.

    While the ‘Agenda People’ have relished using Bishop ineptitude and Fianna Failed corruption to tear down society structures, they have yet to put one worth while thing in place of their destruction. Like the ghost estates in the physical reality, there is a quarter century of ‘ghost abandoned projects. behind these people also that never came to fruition while those that they detested and boycotted in every influential way they could, such as Sinn Fein and Republicans have gone from strength to strength.

    Gay was the perfect no 2, choice for the ‘agenda’ hidden hands, in fact he was probably their first ‘ dead cert for election ‘ choice all along but Norris was center stage and had staked out his claim. If Gay makes it expect to see poppies in the Arus and ‘The Irish who were soldiers in the First World War and their concerns ( like his own father) elevated over the Irish Volunteers of 1916.

    Fianna Failure know all too well what Gabo’s mentality is : one would have thought that the more aware and concerned element of it such as Dev Og and Senator O’Morochu would prevent any further damage to Traditional Irish values, but they are so obsessed in stymying the Blueshirts Aras run at all costs, that like that infamous American Army General in the Vietnam War they are prepared to ‘destroy the village to save it’

    There are a lot of pissed off people out there and a collation of vested establishment interests determined to see that there is no radical in the park and that ( God help us ) includes Michael D by their definition ! The ‘agenda crowd’ are closer than anyone think in pulling this one off.

    Hopefully however all is not lost even at this eleventh hour and a Fianna Failed endorsement of Gabo may me just enough to make enough people who are still angry with FF to tell them to F off and Gabo with them if he accepts their endorsement.

    Gabo is a populist and like Norris he is a consummate showman. He is also, like the rest of his agenda advisors, a shrewd and calculating individual. Attacking ‘that crowd in London’ was the great populist appeal in the Old Parliamentary Nationalist Politics.

    Gabo’s attack on Brussels while all show and no substance , has never the less given him a safe ‘kick ass’ profile with the general public, a few good sound-bites that he is a master of and of course it has not alienated one potential voter as he would if he directed his attack and ire to the deserving F*** Ups nearer to home.

    The agenda is up and running with their preferred candidate and especially in a ever increasing field of political dwarfs lacking serious credibility, Michael D and possibly Michell exempted, it looks like Gabo with his already high profile and whiff of nostalgia for the less challenging times that he iconically represents from the old ‘Late Late Show’ days is a ‘shoe in’

    If there is a black swan out there they should be giving their wings a bloody good flap as there is not too much time left before the Gabo bandwagon becomes unstoppable and there are few friends of Traditional Ireland in that agenda team propelling him to the Aras.

  • pippakin

    Not in favour of Gay Byrne (bloody showbiz) running at all but to be fair I can’t think of anyone better, or worse…

    Not interested in all the agenda stuff either, there isn’t one politician, statesman, senior whatever out there who doesn’t have an agenda particularly the shinners

  • Gay Byrne’s middle name is actually Mary – how can he lose?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay_Byrne

  • Does it really matter what a President with no powers thinks? Can he or she have an influence on how people vote or is he or she simply elected on their “likeableness”?

  • Mick Fealty

    He can make matters as difficult as hell though for the govt.

  • Rory Carr

    I’m still rooting for Dustin the Turkey, who is not only opposed to Ireland’s European involvement (which, let’s face it, might be seen as sour grapes on his part) but has also demonstrated his opposition, not only to rampant commercialism, but also to the Church’s influence on everyday life, with his implacable stand against Christmas.

  • Nunoftheabove

    I can recall the time, could be dangerously close to 20 years ago, when I actually agreed – out loud, at any rate – with an Irish News editorial. Can’t recall having done so before and can’t recall having done so at any time since. It was the day they described GB as “this unctuous little man”.

  • keano10

    Ok then if Gaybo is a bona fide serious candidate, then surely other showbiz candidates can stake a pitch. I’d go for Johnny Logan – slightly more overweight than the glory days of Eurovision but surprisingly with a cult new youth football following in inner city Dublin. (check out the hilarious clips of Johnny on You Tube singing his hit ‘Hold me Now’ on the pitch at Dalymount Park in front of th Bohemians ‘ultras’ who have bizarrely adopted his song…)

  • pippakin

    Well at least you didn’t suggest Bono.

  • Rory Carr

    Johnny Logan cannot possibly win the presidential race.

    If you recall, Rosemary Scanlon as “Dana” won the Eurovision Song Contest and went on to fail to win the presidential contest.

    Johnny Logan has won the Eurovision twice as a singer contestant and twice as composer of the winning song, so he is also destined to lose the presidential contest. At least twice! Once as an actual contender and probably twice more as the speechwriter for another Eurovision winner (probably Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan running in tandem for a joint presidency).

    So clearly, according to the tried and tested formula, the winner of the presidential race will be someone who has tried and failed to win the Eurovision Song Contest. Step forward Dustin the Turkey ! The only contestant* so admirably qualified.

    Besides, in Ireland, tradition is everything.

    * It is also true that Jedward have the right qualifications for a successful tandem run at the post, but Ireland may not yet be quite ready for a couple, especially an unmarried couple (even if they are brothers) to occupy the Aras

  • Neville Bagnall

    Gaybo should be a shoo in:

    – FF heritage, but independent (floating?).
    – Conservative without being authoritarian.
    – The great listener.
    – Idealised and long removed from daily politics.

    And if all he wants as a crowning achievement to his public life, is to be a father figure to the nation, sticking to the script and acting as a nostalgic ambassador to the diaspora for 7 years, then he could succeed mightily.

    But while the role is apolitical, the election isn’t. Further, the role is so limited, the debate will turn on the unexpected.

    That his views on Europe tend to the wingnut variety may surprise some people, time will tell if that matters.
    His “apolitical” and one sided radio campaign against a property tax before the bubble – a tax that was against his personal interest but in the national interest (as has become all too clear since) is more relevant in my opinion, but others may not care.

    However that he hasn’t enough self-awareness to recognise that is not apolitical is the clincher for me.

    If he can’t recognise when he is being political, how can he hold an office where he is required to be apolitical?

    It seems like a recipe for controversy in a decade of touchy subjects and anniversaries.

  • Charminator

    If he runs (which given the drip-drip, I suspect, is far far more likely than not), he’ll win it by a country mile.

    I’d take issue with the Eurosceptic tag though – is that the best adjective for the man? And, after all, it’s almost a dirty word, given some of the lunatics the term attracts. He’s critical of the EU – like a great many across Ireland and the rest of the EU, but to lump it all in as “Eurosceptic” – like the UKIP ilk – seems a little unfair. He’s far from ultra-nationalist or jingoistic, I’m not even sure that the Munsterview characterisation of him as a sort of Norris is entirely fair either. True, he was hostile to the Provos – like probably the vast swathe of the Irish People – but I don’t think he’s the Lord Fitt bow-the-knee type by a long shot!

  • Fortlands

    I’ve listened to and watched Gaybo over the years and not once have I ever heard him express a nationalist sentiment. He is the quintessential Dublin 4 Man.

  • Charminator

    Fortlands – but the quintessential Dublin 4 Man, in my experience, rarely has a wrong word to say about the EU. A wee bit more complex than that I think. I reckon – and Fintan O’Toole hints at it in today’s IT – that we’ll learn a lot about Gaybo in the month’s ahead.