Tag: Ireland

Irish Candidate Seán Gallagher Announces 2018 Bid

By Evan Pereira | Ireland

Early Wednesday, Seán Gallagher, a household name in Ireland, threw his hat into the Presidential race. He will face off against nine other Independent candidates for nominations from at least four local authorities.

Old Controversy

In 2011, Gallagher was a front-runner in the polls until controversy hit only days before election day. During a debate, he made comments referring back to when he accepted a check of €5,000 from businessman Hugh Moran. He called Moran a “convicted criminal and fuel smuggler” during the debate, but still took the money. This incident also involved the center-right former governing party, Fianna Fáil, which left the government in 2011 with record low approval ratings. Many see this debacle as the main reason Gallagher lost.

Gallagher and His Opponents

Last October, Sinn Féin, the largest left wing party in Ireland, announced their intention to run a candidate in October. So, it is now a guarantee that there will be a contested Presidential election. This will be only the second time in Irish history an incumbent had a challenger. The only other instance was in 1966, when Tom O’Higgins challenged Éamon de Valera. De Valera went onto win the election by 10,717 votes (~1%).

In 2011, Gallagher, an Independent candidate with significant backing from the disgraced but still powerful Fianna Fáil party, came in second place with 628,114 votes (35.5%). The winner, then-TD (equivalent to a member of congress or parliament) Michael D. Higgins, bested Gallagher by 23%.

From senators to artists, Ireland’s presidential election will be an interesting affair. Though some are saying Michael D. Higgins has a clear path to victory, others think that it is not going to be that easy for him. Only time will tell.

The Irish presidential election will take place on Friday, October 26th, 2018.


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The Right to Rebel

By Benjamin Olsen | United States

The right to revolution is a concept that seems to have its roots at the beginning of time. The first widespread idea of the right to rebel and the overthrow of rulers was started in ancient China. The philosophy was known as the “Mandate of Heaven.” The Mandate can be summed up as: “If a monarch is behaving poorly, then bad things will happen. If bad things happen, then heaven has withdrawn its support and the people may rise up to overthrow the ruler.” This sentiment is mirrored in a more secular way with the idea of the social contract, the idea that we continue to allow ourselves to be ruled as long as the ruler protects our rights. This idea has been promulgated by John Calvin, John Locke and the Founding Fathers of America. The idea of the right to rebellion has been seen all throughout history, but the most successful execution was seen in 1776.

The philosophy of the American Revolution was rooted in the ideals of the age of enlightenment. Thomas Jefferson and other revolutionaries saw the power these ideas had to change not only their country, but the world. Most of the founders were hesitant at the fact of starting their own country and rather sought to reconcile their grievances with the magistrates of Great Britain. It was John Adams, a founder with an ideology leaning towards monarchism, that lead the charge towards a full separation from the island of Great Britain. This idea was deemed radical and the Congress debated the idea for over a year before finally ratifying the Declaration of Independence. Even after ratification, the general populace was against the idea of revolution. Only 25% of the population was active in the fight against Great Britain. The idea of splitting from a government that the majority of people had familial and other ties to was beyond belief. Revolutions can start small but can grow to be an unstoppable juggernaut. The American Revolution was truly started by a small organization known as the Sons of Liberty. This small fraternity was responsible for the Boston Tea party and the opening shots at Lexington and Concord. What the American Revolution exemplifies the best is how successful a small revolution can be. Starting with a small fraternity and ending with an independent nation and a modern day powerhouse.

Another example of revolution is the Easter Rising in 1916 that took place in Ireland. This revolution is different from the American one as it takes place in what is considered the modern day and it is a failed revolution that sparked something bigger than itself. The Easter Rising is rooted in an ancient rivalry between England and Ireland. Dating back to 1169, England tried to exert its dominance over the British Isles, and in particular Ireland. Irish history, as a result of such occupation and colonization, has a history rife with tragedy and turmoil. Irish rebellions stretch back to the first occupation and extend all the way to the 1990s. The true turning point in the same story of a failed rebellion came in 1916.

In the midst of the great war, a small organization of Irish patriots, ranging in ideologies from socialism and monarchists to classical liberals and fascists, planned to rebel against the English crown while it was occupied in the trenches of northern France. The rebellion gathered its strength in secret and trained with what arms it could manage to procure. On Easter Monday, 1916 the small band of revolutionaries struck. They first seized the General Post Office and rose the Irish Tricolor, that continues to be the flag of Ireland to this day. By the end of the week, the rebellion was defeated. All of the signers of the proclamation of the provisional government were executed. The Easter Rising had failed to free Ireland from the British. However, within the next two decades the Irish people would rise up, their eyes opened to the British atrocities. Ireland would become independent in 1937. Throughout the rest of the century beginning in the early 50s and continuing until the late 90s, Irish freedom fighters fought for the freedom of the North and the ability for it to join the Republic of Ireland. The Easter Rising shows how even a failed revolution can lead to an independent nation.

All people that are governed have a right to overthrow their governor if their rights are not protected. In today’s world, we are taxed at a rate unimaginable by the Founding Fathers. We have atrocity after atrocity perpetrated against us. Rebellion does not always have to be with fire and bullets like the Easter Rising and American Revolution, but we cannot continue to allow our rights to be curbed in the name of security and safety. As Thomas Jefferson put it “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.” We should all seek such freedom and the ability to decide our own destiny free from intrusion by a government, that may as well be foreign. Revolution can come through the ballot box such as the Civil Rights Movement. Revolution can be peaceful such as Gandhi’s liberation of India. Only if necessary must a revolution be violent. Let us not suffer to be ruled, but to be rulers of our own lives. A revolution is needed to be freed from the bureaucratic quagmire and corrupt governance that plagues this nation.


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5 Nationalist Movements to Watch

By Colin Louis | U.S.

All around the globe nationalism is on the rise. The ideas of right wing populism and nationalism are starting to grow into large movements all over the free world. People are beginning to shift to these ideas. The following five countries are turning nationalist.

5. The UK

Recently, the U.K has shown signs of shifting further to the nationalist right. The Brexit vote provided evidence that the UK is moving further towards nationalism and populism. Brexit clearly signals that nationalism and euroskepticism is on a significant rise in the U.K. The recent UKIP leadership election could help them continue this.

4. Ireland

Irish politics serves as a reminder that nationalism comes in different forms. In the case of Ireland, it’s left nationalism with much momentum. The concept of left nationalism is a form of socialism mixed with nationalism, not to be confused with National Socialism, which is a far more authoritarian belief. Sinn Féin, led by Garry Adams, won around 14% of the vote in the recent 2016 election. Sinn Féin did very well compared to its past performance and that of other less nationalist parties. 14% might not sound like much, but the ruling party, Fine Gael, only received around 36% of the vote.

3. Germany

In the most recent German elections, the new nationalist party, Alternative Für Deutschland (AFD), won a considerable amount of seats in the German parliament. This sent a signal to incumbent Chancellor, Angela Merkel, that the German people are moving further from the European Union and her administration. Germany has always attempted to stray away from their Nazi history and refrain from nationalist movements. Although the election of AFD provides evidence that Germany is losing this mindset.

2. America

The recent election of Donald Trump as President of the United States signals a shift further towards his movement of American nationalism. The policies Trump promised he would put in place, such as protectionist trade deals with China, are designed to put America over the rest of the world. The movement Trump sparked now runs rampant through the Republican Party. The Republican Party didn’t necessarily hold these views until Trump nearly hijacked the party. His America first movement destroyed the Party establishment and put these ideas into action.

1. Netherlands

The one that may surprise people the most is the Netherlands. The once center left nation recently took a swing right in the 2017 elections when Garret Wilders and the Party for Freedom ran a hard anti Islam and European Union campaign. Wilders has come out in support of banning the Koran, even going as far as to compare the book to Mein Kampf. Wilder’s Party won enough seats to place them as the opposition party in the Dutch House of Representatives. Even parties that have never run a hard line anti- Islam campaign are shifting in support of more nationalist ideas. Prime Minister Mark Rutte put out an advertisement that stated, “act normal or leave.” Rutte later said that this wasn’t meant to attack ethnic groups, but instead people who did not share their values. This signals that Wilder’s nationalist movement has spread most everywhere in the Netherlands.