herald

Wednesday 12 December 2018

Democracy Now celebs ditch their election bid

EAMON Dunphy today blamed a lack of time for his decision not to become a Dail candidate.

He was part of the ill-fated Democracy Now initiative to run a number of celebrity candidates to seek a reform of politics and to abandon the EU-IMF debt agreement.

But the new movement was aborted because the General Election was coming too soon, claimed organisers David McWilliams and Fintan O'Toole.

Eamon Dunphy today outlined his own reasons for abandoning the plan. He stated: "It was just too difficult to get everything organised in a short space of time."



FLAK

In an article in The Star newspaper, Dunphy (65) declared: "Politics is a nightmare life in many ways because it takes over totally. But I was thinking of going into the fray because I am sickened by what happened to this country.

"I'm not sure I would have been elected as I'd have taken a lot of flak over things that I've said and done in the past.

"However, I gave running for the Dail serious thought because I am so angry at the destruction of Ireland.

"I have children and grandchildren and I feel for them because I know what they're facing into. Ireland has been destroyed by the bunglers in the Dail -- mostly from Fianna Fail. And the opinion polls show that not many have confidence in the alternative government of Fine Gael/Labour."

He said he was part of a group of potential independent candidates who came together over the past month to discuss joining forces to fight the election in the hope of holding the balance of power.

The main goals was to force a referendum on the debt bailout agreement, to seek re-structuring of the debt repayments, and to end cronyism in public life. But, in the end, it was decided that too many potential candidates would have too much difficulty re-arranging work and family commitments and the idea was abandoned, he explained.

The Democracy Now alliance was to feature personalities from sports, business, the voluntary sector and the media.

Almost half of the 20 figures approached by Democracy Now in the past fortnight were unable to commit to the campaign and ended up sinking the movement before it began.

Independent TD Finian McGrath, who was among those approached, said he was "very, very surprised" the plan had fallen through. "It just shows that some of the so-called celebrities and some of the famous people in the media and in economics are all talk and are a bit windy when it comes to putting their name on the ballot paper," said Mr McGrath.

Irish Rural Link chief executive Seamus Boland said he was first asked to run for the campaign only eight days ago.

"I have to say I expressed my own concerns at the time that this was seriously too late but I made some enquiries and I discovered that there was an appetite and that I could muster a campaign," he said.



SUSPECT

"But while I was doing that they came back and said, no it's not possible, the election is about to be called and that made me think, what am I doing here?

"They shouldn't have left it so late, but I suspect the likes of Fintan O'Toole were actually resisting it for too long and when they did give in to think about it, it was already too late."

Another of Democracy Now's prospective candidates, former Kildare North Independent TD Catherine Murphy, said she was very disappointed, adding that the group was a real opportunity to change the political system.

Journalist and Senator Shane Ross was part of the group but he is pressing ahead with his own plans to run for the Dail.

aokeeffe@herald.ie

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