Sunday, May 31, 2009

Save Ireland's Catholic faith

Vote NO to Libertas and their far right agenda

World by Storm from Cedar Lounge on Ganley

Social conservatism as a political platform might not be what it was a week ago. May 28, 2009

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, Religion, Social Policy, Society.

A week is a long time in politics, and one wonders some are pondering that thought a little more deeply than most of us. For reading the Irish Times I was struck by an analysis of the North West Constituency in the European Elections, and in particular the following

It addresses the fact that social conservatism, and in particular abortion, have become a part of the campaign in North West.

Undoubtedly, the Libertas head has deliberately put himself at odds with the candidates from the major parties, thus emphasising his profile at every point. His campaign infuriates his opponents, who argue that they have no choice but to respond to unfounded allegations; even if this plays into his hands.

But it notes that:

Ganley, the only Galway-based candidate in the race, will, however, need more than the conservative Catholic vote enjoyed by the former Eurovision winner 10 years ago.

And continues crucially:

Indeed, Ganley’s emphasised links to the church may have downsides too, since the political landscape has changed in ways yet unknowable following the devastating report into institutional child abuse. As of now, it is far from clear if he has anything else other than a conservative vote, and his decision to row publicly last week with the Irish Farmers’ Association could alienate as many as it impresses.

The race is not short of conservative candidates, so he will find it difficult to prevent leakage from the socially conservative as polling day approaches.

It’s difficult to assess the Report in political terms, or not that it’s difficult but rather that it seems to almost demean it in some fashion. And yet the Report – and now the events that it has initiated – is already shaping the future of this state across a range of measures from social policy to political positioning. One might tentatively wonder would Fianna Fáil be most hit by the simple historical connection between its stewardship of this state and the fact that these crimes occurred on its watch. But, much the same charge could be leveled at any party in power in the post-War of Independence era and up until the 1990s. Or perhaps it is that the societal implications are so great in and of themselves that issues of political guilt are secondary or tertiary to that. One could also argue that because this is rooted in the past that gives a degree of political cover to the present and potential future incumbents of high office. And added to that is the simple reality that time has seen parties change. The idea that Fianna Fáil would one day seek entry to the European Liberal group is hardly one that troubled the conscience of any of its leaders or members during the past. Indeed the brand of social conservatism that might most readily be identified with that past has not been served particularly well in recent years (despite the obvious exceptions as regards social policy).

Which made the positioning of Libertas over the past month and a half as an overtly socially conservative grouping something of a surprise to me. Had you asked me prior to that what sort of profile they would take I’d have put money on it being focussed simply on the European issue with, perhaps a tilt towards economic conservatism in their policies. A sort of technocratic right wing approach. Maybe something not dissimilar to the PDs. It’s not that the socially conservative aspect to them was in any sense hidden, but rather that it didn’t seem that high up in the mix. Indeed quite recently Libertas was issuing press releases that sought to portray it as almost neutral on such matters.

But Ganley and Simons have run hard with social matters, supposedly under threat from the hegemon in Brussels, and in the former case very specifically against his rival Marian Harkin.

Outgoing Independent MEP Marian Harkin is Ganley’s main target, and he has frequently alleged that her MEP grouping in the parliament is “soft” on abortion. Harkin, a social conservative by her own description, has been stung by the charges and forced to deny them in a constituency where the conservative vote is strong.

Highly impressive as an MEP, Harkin has built a network based on care and community organisations throughout the constituency, which is coming out now to canvass for her.

That latter connection of Harkin’s with care and community organisations might just be the sort of thing to deflect the charges from Ganley.

As a tactical move running on a socially conservative platform was far from the worst idea. At least prior to the release of the Ryan Report. There is a constituency there which overlaps with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael but which is not quite represented, at least not now, by either of them. Its size is difficult to judge, but taking the North West constituency clearly it was sufficient in part to swing the vote towards Dana in the past.

I’ll hazard, and I may be utterly wrong and proven so next Saturday week, that that vote in Dublin is of rather smaller proportions, or perhaps it is that the field of battle is considerably more crowded.

In any event, in the immediate short term, I’d tend to think that the impacts will be relatively slight and were it otherwise one could argue that was somewhat unfair, not least because whether it is to my taste or not it remains an entirely legitimate viewpoint. Clearly one can hold socially conservative views, and profess a strong loyalty to Catholicism (or any other religion), and yet find the events catalogued by the Ryan report anathema. And in fairness to Declan Ganley his religious beliefs are clearly sincere and nor has he sought to hide them.

But, at the same time, he has been willing to raise issues that have been hugely divisive in the past. And he has very clearly identified with a strand of Catholicism which is avowedly ‘traditional’ in outlook.

Again, perfectly reasonable, but a difficult place from which to enunciate a clear and distinctive viewpoint that differentiates between the wrongs overseen by that Church in the past.

Not least due to the continuing inability of elements of the Church to deal with these issues with any alacrity. It is this secondary, and even somewhat indirect aftershock which is causing grievous and (let’s be clear) self-inflicted damage to the Church, which hourly undermines its authority and efforts to legitimate its stances not merely on issues relating to care health and education but, as we’ve seen with CORI, in other areas as well and perhaps further afield.

And yet, in a way what is the surprise that a political formation should appear in this guise? The last decade has seen a renewal of the conservative social right in this state (and further abroad as well). We’ve seen the ‘think-tanks’, the commentators in the press and even the occasional elected representative grace our newspapers, our television screens and the Seanad. It’s not that they ever went away, note the resistance within Fianna Fáil to civil unions legislation (and it’s not restricted to FF by any means), but in this newer more media savvy and apparently user-friendly incarnation it has managed to achieve a degree of respectability that it either didn’t have, or didn’t need. These aren’t people getting down and dirty, as it were with Youth Defence, but instead are a cohort who have a very clear, if occasionally diffusely projected, vision of the sort of society that they want to see in this state. And this vision is one which explicitly and fundamentally links into a certain aspect of what we can broadly term the Catholic ethos.

They’ve had some success. This Version 2.0 is mild-mannered, covers itself in some intellectual and even empirical trappings (they’re particularly fond of statistics), it talks a fuzzy language of emotion and empathy. Up to a point. But… it also is of the right and as such locks into a smorgasbord of ‘right’ concerns, be they home schooling, bioethics, reproductive rights and so forth. And economically, for all the soft focus they’re not seriously in conflict with the status quo.

But the events of the past week or so pose a problem, perhaps not to Ganley and Simons, but to the broader conservative social project.

The past which those who seek a more ‘traditional’ Church, supposedly true to its teachings, is to return to where these crimes took place, one where the power of that Church was all but untrammelled in the political and social spheres. This is a very real contradiction, because it entirely undermines an analysis which seeks to promote some sort of moral or ethical golden age which if we could only but institute [and here you can insert your social policy of choice] we would see anew.

There are means of squaring these circles, at least in part. But I would wonder how easily it will be from here on out to fashion a primarily socially conservative party that has a serious chance of making a mark on the polity.

Irish priest distributed Declan Ganley DVDs

In a week that has seen the Irish church burdened by a report into child sex abuse, Irish parish priest are attempting to influence the Irish electorate by distributed Declan Ganley DVD's to their parishioners.

I call on my readers to contact their bishops and ask for a full investigation of this abuse of clerical influence. Declan Ganley is in league with far right xenophobic neo Nazis across Europe. It is a shame on my church that priests would help get him elected in Ireland. If this is the attitude of my church then I am in a crisis of faith over their support of Declan Ganley.

Should we just join the Church of Ireland and shun the Catholic church if we want to be christains in Ireland. the church must decide.

Donegal Priest giving out Ganley Audio
Well this is a first! I was out at my grandparents to watch a DVD with the grandfather. I opened the DVD player and noticed a copied CD with Mr Declan Ganley written on it with a permanent marker.

I asked my grandparents what it was, they said they just got it today from the local parish priest. I wont name names of course. He said for them to listen to it. They had it in the player but didnt get around to it yet.

I dont know what audio recording it is yet but I will borrow it off them tomorrow because I left without it.

Interesting nonetheless... Ill report back as to which recording(s) it is.

This priest seems to be spreading it around the parish..

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Libertas out of the game in Irish Elections according Reuters

Irish anti-treaty group seen facing EU vote defeat

DUBLIN (Reuters) - The Libertas party is unlikely to win election to the European Parliament in Ireland next week, an opinion poll showed, in what would be a major setback for its campaign against the European Union's Lisbon reform treaty.

Libertas, which now styles itself a "pan-European" party with candidates across the EU, was one of the leading groups whose campaign helped defeat the Lisbon treaty in an Irish referendum last June.

Ireland is planning a second vote on the treaty in the autumn subject to concessions in key policy areas but Libertas leader Declan Ganley has said he would not be at the forefront of a new campaign unless he won a seat in the European Parliament.

Saturday's Irish Times/TNS mrbi poll showed Ganley's support in Ireland's North West constituency remained steady at 9 percent, with other Irish Libertas candidates even further from landing a job in Brussels on June 5.

The nationalist Sinn Fein party's MEP Mary Lou McDonald, another leading anti-Lisbon treaty campaigner, was in a close race to defend her seat in the Dublin constituency, the poll said.

Ireland will also elect local councillors and two members of the national parliament on June 5, with support for governing party Fianna Fail at a record low of 20 percent according to an earlier instalment of the Irish Times poll on Friday.

Prime Minister Brian Cowen's party is set to lose the two parliamentary by-elections in Dublin and perform dismally in municipalities as it trails in third place nationally behind opposition Fine Gael and Labour -- all three pro-Lisbon parties.

However due to the popularity of some individual candidates and a system allowing the transfer of votes from weaker ones, Fianna Fail was only in danger of losing one of its four members of the European Parliament, Saturday's poll said.

TNS mrbi conducted the European election poll from Tuesday to Thursday through face-to-face interviews with 500 people in each of Ireland's four euro constituencies.

(Reporting by Andras Gergely; Editing by Charles Dick)

Libertas out of the game in Irish Elections

Ganley courts far right anti Semitic radio in Poland

Ganley recently did a secret deal with a Polish bishop in an attempt to get the support of Radio Maryja. Do we really want religion in politics? Should priests have the influence they had when Ireland was a sea of clerical sex abuse? i don't think so. faith is a private matter and should be kept out of political decisions.

As the Fenian Charles Kickham urged in the Irish People newspaper in 1864 in an article "Priests In Politics", priests should stay away from politics and stick to ministering for the spiritual well being of their flocks. They have no place at the centre of a republic's political life. Vote no to Ganley and his secret deals with the far right religious.

Polish Right-Wing Radio Station to Get EU Money

Radio Maryja, a right-wing broadcaster founded by an ultra-conservative Catholic priest, is in line to get €15 million in European Union funding. The money would go to expand a journalism school for the station, which has been accused of anti-Semitism.

Ultra-Catholic broadcaster Radio Maryja, whose Torun, Poland headquarters are shown here, may be awarded EU funding.

Ultra-Catholic broadcaster Radio Maryja, whose Torun, Poland headquarters are shown here, may be awarded EU funding.

A right-wing Polish radio station founded by an ultra-conservative Polish Catholic priest is in line to get European Union funding.

Radio Maryja, which has been accused of being anti-Semitic and anti-EU, may receive more than €15 million in EU funding for a private university, Poland's Minister of Regional Development Grazyna Gesicka said Tuesday. The project has fulfilled all the necessary criteria and will get the EU grant, Gesicka said.

Her statement confirmed an earlier report in the Tuesday edition of the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza that the school was on a list of 350 projects that Warsaw has recommended to receive EU funding. The money will go to expand Radio Maryja's journalism school, the Torun-based Higher School of Social and Media Culture.

However the European Commission disputed that the funds had been approved. Commission spokeswoman Katharina von Schnurbein told the news agency AFP that the EU's strict ban on discrimination must be adhered to if Radio Maryja was going to get EU money. "We have clear criteria and values," she said. According to sources in the EU quoted by AFP, Radio Maryja's radical stance would reduce its chances of getting funding.

A spokeswoman for the European Commission told the news Web site EU Observer that the commission could use anti-discrimination rules "to stop the project if necessary."

Radio Maryja was founded by the controversial Catholic priest Tadeusz Rydzyk, who was caught on tape earlier this year making anti-Semitic remarks which were then published in the Polish weekly Wprost. According to the magazine, Rydzyk accused Polish President Lech Kaczynski of being "in the pockets of the Jewish lobbies," and said that if you give them aid, "they will come to you and say 'give me your coat. Take off your pants. Give me your shoes.'" He also referred to Kaczynski's wife as a "witch" for her support of abortion rights.

Rydzyk's recent meeting with Pope Benedict XVI was condemned by international Jewish groups. He has close links to the Kaczynski twins, who are prime minister and president of Poland, and the support of Radio Maryja is thought to have been instrumental in getting the Kaczynskis' Law and Justice party elected in 2005.

After days of indecision Libertas decide to lie about invitation to Walesa for Dublin visit

Lech Walesa said he would use his Liberats paid visit to Dublin to tell Declan Ganley to vote for Lisbon so Libertas have pulled the plug on Lech Walesa.

Libertas - ‘We never invited Walesa’ Polish Radio External Service

29.05.2009 15:57

The anti-Lisbon Treaty Libertas party claims they have never actually invited Lech Walesa to Dublin to attend one of their rallies.

Spokespeople for the party claim that Walesa’s visit - which has caused much controversy in Poland - was never confirmed.

“Walesa is not coming. He was not invited,” states a Libertas spokesperson, despite the fact that Walesa himself has announced that he was invited by Libertas to Dublin. Prime Minister Donald Tusk said in an interview in the Irish Times on Thursday that the former leader of the Solidarity trade union had assured him that when he was in Dublin he would appeal to the Irish to ratify the Lisbon Treaty, despite Libertas’s opposition to the document.

Declan Ganley, who founded the party, helped organize the “No’ vote in the referendum in Ireland on the treaty last year.

The news that Walesa has not been invited to Dublin comes after he has already attended two Libertas rallies, in Rome and Madrid. It has been reported that the former president of Poland received appearance money to the tune of 100,000 euros for appearing at the events.

It is being speculated that Libertas have stopped cooperation with Walesa after they found out that he would appeal for Lisbon Treaty ratification in Dublin, and so going against the central plank of their policy for the European elections on June 4 to 7. (pg/mnj)

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Declan Ganley on Southpark


Libertas try to steal bloggers logo.

The Libertas attempt to steal this blogger's logo.
They even messed up the font!


The real logo of the anti-fascist anti-Nazi pro people Libertas? Nein Danke!

Declan Ganley claims to be able to create jobs. A vote for the far right Libertas is a vote against Irish jobs

Libertas use nude girl in PR stunt

Libertas are breaking with their ultra Catholic supporters in their use of almost naked girl in PR stunt. So much for the moral crusaders. What will the MPF and the League of Polish families make of it?

Fianna Fail asks supporters to vote transfers to rivals in bid to flatten Ganley and save Irish jobs

Fianna Fail has called for supporters to transfer to rivals in Fine Gael and Labour in the North west constituency to deprive Declan Ganley of any support in the forthcoming election. Obviously keenly aware of the potential threat to inward investment in Ireland if a far right candidate gets any support at the polls Fianna Fail have made this unprecedented call. Votes for Libertas will cost Irish jobs.

FF calls for transfers to pro-treaty candidates to block Ganley


NORTH WEST: FIANNA FÁIL has urged supporters in the European North West constituency to use their transfers to block Libertas founder Declan Ganley by supporting pro-Lisbon Treaty candidates.

Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív and former minister Frank Fahey have called on supporters to vote for Fianna Fáil candidates, Pat “the Cope” Gallagher and Paschal Mooney.

Once that was done, both men said later preferences should be used for other candidates from the larger parties such as Fine Gael and Labour, who back the ratification of the treaty.

“From a business, social and community point of view, our place is with our European partners and those who want to distance themselves from the European Union or want to put Ireland at the edge of the union, in my belief, are not doing our country any service,” Mr Ó Cuív said.

The Government had “taken on board” Irish voters’ concerns and was working on a series of legally binding guarantees to be finalised at next month’s meeting of European Union leaders in Brussels raised by voters.

“Arrangements are also being made with our partners in Europe to confirm that compulsory military service cannot be introduced in Ireland,” Mr Ó Cuív added. “As it stands, Ireland cannot enter into a common defence without a referendum.”

Social issues, such as abortion – which had featured frequently during the debate in the North West constituency, the State’s most conservative, “will remain as issues to be decided by the Irish people”. Ireland’s corporation tax rates “will not be changed without the agreement of the Irish Government”, the two men, who have long been bitter political rivals, said in a joint statement.

Meanwhile, Libertas has said it will not invite former Polish president Lech Walesa to Ireland before the European elections and that there “was never a confirmed plan” to do so.

Mr Walesa, who made paid appearances at Libertas events in Rome and Madrid earlier this month, said he was going to speak in Dublin.

After coming under pressure in Poland, Mr Walesa said he would use his Dublin trip to urge Irish voters to support the Lisbon Treaty. A spokeswoman for Libertas contacted The Irish Times yesterday to say that Mr Walesa was “not coming, he hasn’t been invited”.

Asked if there had ever been a plan to bring Mr Walesa to Ireland, the spokeswoman said there was “nothing confirmed”.

On Wednesday, Polish prime minister Donald Tusk predicted that the Libertas collaboration with Mr Walesa would backfire.

“He confirmed to me that he would go to Ireland if needed to address some of those people who have attached their hopes to Libertas,” said Mr Tusk.

“Lech Walesa told me that in Dublin he intends to appeal to the Irish people to support the Lisbon Treaty. That gave me a great sense of relief.”

Far-right prospects in the European elections

Czech report on the far right in Europe , note that despite putting Libertas in the far right category for Poland the author mistakenly fails to note that they are running in Ireland and therefore for the first time the far right have candidates in the Irish European elections.

Elections affecting 500 million people in 27 EU member states will be held from 4-7 June to fill 736 seats in the European Parliament. That is two more countries than at the last election in 2004, because of the accession of Bulgaria and Romania.

Member states employ a variety of voting systems so making predictions of the outcome is difficult, particularly as the electorate has become more volatile in some countries as a result of internal political factors.

The UK is a prime example. The continuing scandal over MPs' expenses has turned many voters away from the three main parties, especially Labour, leaving the way open for other parties to benefit. At the time of writing the UK Independence Party looks to be the main beneficiary, but the British National Party still believes its chances of securing seats have never been greater.

Across Europe, far-right fringe parties are very much in evidence, contesting the ballot in 23 countries, the exceptions being Cyprus, Estonia, Ireland (Editors Note:Not anymore Libertas are far right)and Luxembourg. Even Malta has the long-time nazi headbanger Norman Lowell standing under the flag of his grandly-named Imperium Europa party, in the forlorn hope of winning one of the island's five seats.

If crackpot Lowell represented the spearhead of the far right's intervention in the elections, there would be little to worry about. But the attempt by the far right to take up more room on the European bandwagon is taking place against a backdrop of increasingly difficult economic and social circumstances resulting from the world recession and, looming on the horizon, the spectre of massive population movements within and from outside Europe resulting from climate change.

It is hard to measure the likely impact of the right-wing extremists and populists because these parties function with varying degrees of professionalism and competence. There are 57 MEPs in the outgoing parliament whose politics put them to the right of the conservative mainstream. This is more than double the 24 far-right MEPs in the 1999-2004 parliament.

The more competent racist and right-wing populist parties that hold seats in the outgoing parliament are the National Front (FN) in France, Flemish Interest (VB) in Belgium, the National Alliance (AN) and Northern League (LN) in Italy, the Freedom Party (FP?) in Austria and the Danish People's Party (DFP).

Of these the biggest single group is the AN, with nine MEPs. They are joined from Italy by two from the far-right separatist LN, the convicted fascist terrorist Roberto Fiore representing Social Alternative (AS), the fascist veteran Pino Rauti and a lone MEP from the fascist Tricolour Flame. The AN continues to rebrand itself as conservative and "post fascist" but its roots lie deep in Mussolini fascism.

As for the rest, the FN had seven MEPs, now has four and looks like losing at least one. The VB has three MEPs and is likely to lose at least one, the Freedom Party has one MEP and hopes to gain another, while the DFP also has one MEP and could make gains.

All these parties will field full lists of candidates but the FN is beset by internal financial and political crises, while the VB has seen sections of its electoral support and membership ebb away to the Dedecker List, the new kid on the Belgian populist block.

It was noteworthy that in the previous parliament even the most serious attempt to weld together the disparate right-wing extremist and populist parties, under the banner of the Identity Tradition and Sovereignty (ITS) group, failed at its first test. This stunt, promoted by Andreas M?lzer of the FP?, was a flagrant bid to lay their hands on the huge amounts of cash and resources that official recognition as a parliamentary group brings.

It blew apart when one of its members, Alessandra Mussolini, expressed her view that Romanian migrants were criminals, a move that did not endear her to her colleagues from the Greater Romania party, who promptly walked out, leaving the ITS to crumble and lose official recognition when its numbers fell below what was needed to form a group.

Away from the more professional parties, the picture of far-right participation in the election is varied. In Germany, the two main far-right competitors, the Republicans and the Germany People's Union, will compete with each other for the fascist vote and guarantee that the far right will again fail to send an MEP to Brussels.

In Austria too there are two far-right parties standing, the Freedom Party and the late J?rg Haider's breakaway Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZ?), which, polls suggest, might also grab a seat.

In the Netherlands, the only recognisably far-right party on the ballot paper is Geert Wilders's populist and fanatically Islamophobic Freedom Party (PVV), which might well provide the country's first far-right MEP. Interestingly Wilders seems to want any MEPs elected for his party to plough a lone furrow and retain their independence from other far-right formations. This may be attributable to the fact that Wilders is strongly pro-Israel and knows only too well that other far-right parties are either overtly or latently antisemitic.

In northern Europe, the DFP finds a little echo in Sweden where both the Sweden Democrats and its even more extreme offspring, the National Democrats, are fielding candidates. Neither holds any seats, a situation unlikely to change in this election. In Finland, the far right is represented by the bizarre anti-immigrant, anti-EU Real Finns party, which could sneak a seat under the country's proportional representation system.

On the Iberian peninsula, the anti-immigrant Partido Popular in Portugal has two MEPs and may retain them, but the fascist National Renewal Party, which is also standing, will not be sending any MEPs to join them. In neighbouring Spain, a ragbag of five fascist parties will stand for the 50 available seats in the hope of winning one. Their prospects are not very bright. In the 2004 elections, the four fascist outfits that stood were lucky to take just over 1% of the vote between them.

In Greece, voters will find Europe's arguably most openly and violently nazi party, Golden Dawn, sharing the ballot paper with the other ultra-right outfit LAOS which has one MEP, Georgios Georgiou, who has a chance of re-election.
In eastern Europe too the prospects for the far right look mixed. The outgoing parliament has 16 far-right MEPs, ten of them from the homophobic and racist League of Polish Families (LPF). It is difficult to forecast the performance of the far right this time because the political configuration has changed with the formation of a new party, Libertas, led by the bitterly anti-EU Irish millionaire Declan Ganley, which is swallowing up huge chunks of the far right including the LPF and even a motley crew of nazi skinheads.

Three parties will fight the election in Latvia - the ultra-right Osipova Party, which is linked to Russian nazis, the nationalist All for Latvia and the right-wing national conservative LNNK. The Waffen-SS supporting LNNK had four MEPs in the outgoing parliament but is unlikely to have so many this time round. The Lithuanian Centre Party is fielding candidates in Lithuania.

Zmago Jelincic's Slovene Nation Party (SNS) will fight for all Slovenia's seven seats, on its strongly anti-migrant, pro-Serbia policies. The far right will also try to make an impact in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, though it is unclear to what effect.

In Slovakia, the extremist Slovak National Party, which wants the rehabilitation of Hitler's bloodstained wartime puppet Josef Tiso, will campaign for re-election on its anti-Hungarian, anti-Roma and anti-Jewish policies. In the Czech Republic three racist and fascist parties, including the National Party led by the BNP's friend Petra Edelmannov?, are standing without entertaining much hope of election. Their ideas are reciprocated in the fascist Jobbik party in Hungary, which is also assiduously building up its own anti-democratic private army, the Hungarian Guard.

In the two newest member states, the parties that have registered to carry the torch for racism and fascism might be termed "the usual suspects": the anti-Turkish, antisemitic Attack in Bulgaria and the racist, antisemitic and xenophobic Greater Romania party in Romania.

The number of far-right MEPs looks set to rise in the new parliament but whether they will succeed in forming any official groups is impossible to tell. At its biggest, the ITS was unable to command the support of even half the elected ultra-nationalists, right-wing populists, racists and fascists in the parliament.

The biggest problem the nationalist right has is that it is not internationally minded and many of its protagonists would like nothing better than to slit each other's throats. All of them might share the same xenophobic, homophobic, racist, antisemitic, anti-immigrant, anti-Turkish, anti-trade union, anti-EU and Islamophobic mindset and have the policies to match but they stand, largely for nothing other than idiotic ideas about racial superiority and autarchy.

The tragedy is that a few million people will be deluded into wasting their votes on them, which will allow them to get their snouts into the EU financial trough and so make Europe a less pleasant and less humane place to live.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Irish Minister Dick Roche on Bruce Arnold’s sycophantic defence of Declan Ganley

In the current issue of the Village magazine Irish government Minister for European Affiars, Dick Roche, has been given a right of reply to attacks on him in the last issue by Declan Ganley's hagiographer and pet hack Bruce Arnold.
Ganley brought an action against the Village but dropped it and as it satnds the record shows that he has been accused of being a liar, has attempted to defnd his name and has withdrawn his action when faced with the potential of a vigorous defence.
This leaves Ganley the most reputationally compromised politician in Irish public life
You can read the original article and Arnolds article as well as Declan ganley Liar? by editor Michael Smith here

Bruce Arnold’s sycophantic defence of Declan Ganley by Dick Roche Minister for European Affiars

Bruce Arnold’s sycophantic defence of Declan Ganley is fascinating at several levels. Devotion to a ‘hero’ can be touching – Arnold’s paen to his hero is merely cringe making.
The most interesting aspect of Arnold’s efforts is his claim that he has “checked the allegations” against Ganley. I doubt very much that Arnold has done so. If he has there a couple of areas on which he could enlighten those who have been attempting to probe the mysteries surrounding Mr Ganley, the Libertas organisation, its operations and true motives.
One of the most important functions of the free press in Ireland is to provide a forum where journalists – ideally ones with a far greater degree of integrity than has been evidenced by Arnold – can objectively examine the claims made by those who would wish to shape this country’s destiny.
Scrutiny may fall on anyone who puts him or herself forward as a leader, representative or activist – elected or otherwise – and Declan Ganley, for all his millions, should be treated no differently than others who seek public office.
The central argument presented by Arnold in his article for Village last month appears to be built on logic of a very questionable variety: Declan Ganley shouldn’t have to answer any questions because other public figures have not – in Arnold’s opinion – been sufficiently questioned in the past.
Arnold’s of unspecified “allegations” against Ganley is laughable, given that he has been employed to write a book illuminating Ganley’s “political vision.”
The notion that this established relationship with Ganley might have diminished his journalistic impartiality does not appear to have been entertained by Arnold.
Indeed as Arnold has in his words “checked the allegations” against Ganley here are a few issues from the acres of material from Mr Ganley’s self promoted biography on which Bruce might enlighten us all.
First there are Ganley’s claims to have been foreign economic policy advisor to the Latvian Government. This is an important starting point in Ganley’d ‘biog’ so the question arise - has Arnold really checked the facts?
Ganley claims that in 1991 he was Foreign Economic Affairs Advisor to the then Latvian Government. This appointment is supposed to have opened doors for the then young Mr Ganley. It is an important point in Ganley’s ‘biography’. The problem is that the then Latvian PM denies the claim. Colm Keena writing in the Irish Times has pointed out that “people in Latvia who had made inquiries about Ganley at the time were unable to find anyone who'd heard of him. Sources in the Irish embassy in Warsaw, which was accredited to Latvia, told The Irish Times in 1999 it had become aware of the reports about Ganley's activities in Latvia, and had made discreet inquiries. But no trace could be found by the embassy of Ganley's business dealings in Latvia, or of his acting as an advisor to the government ( See Irish Times Saturday, May 31, 2008 “On the mysterious trail of 'Mr No'”), Has Arnold any evidence to contradict this?

During the period when Ganley claims he was operating from Riga, an Irish citizen, Michael Bourke was working for the IMF in Riga. Mr. Bourke recalls meeting Ganley in the city. His meeting with Ganley was discussed in some detail on the Prime Time programme.
He told RTE, “the meeting is one I shall never forget - ----- He said that he was involved in international trade and that he would be setting up his own bank ----- “Ganley International Bank”.
He said he would be getting a licence from the Minister for Finance”. When asked whether the bank ever materialised, Bourke answered, “it did not” and went onto point out that he had contacted the Latvian Ministry for Finance shortly after speaking with Ganley and asked whether they had any information on a bank being opened by an Irish citizen or on application for a licence by Ganley International Bank. The response he received was negative. There was no evidence or information on any such venture. What is Arnold’s view on this ?
Ganley's claims regarding his activities in Russia in the dying period of the Soviet system have been described by experts of that era as not capable of holding water. Jan Urban the Czech journalist/ writer has described Ganley's claims as BS
To recap the claims: Ganley claims, that in his late teens / early 20s :-
- he hit on the idea of insuring the launch of western payloads
into space on Russian rockets.
- he was been invited by the Russians to lead a trade delegation to Moscow.
- to have, during the course of the trade delegations visit, “bagged”
a valuable contract with the Russian authorities for insuring western payloads launched on Russian spacecraft, only to have been foiled when he was forced by the US authorities to drop the idea.
- To have masterminded a major trade fair on Russian metals and alloys
in London.
- To have established a successful business exporting aluminium from Russia to the west at the height of Russia’s “aluminium wars”.
- To have established and owned Russia’s biggest timber business.
Ganley’s claims are all the more remarkable given that they are the “achievements” of a young man with little or no capital, with no knowledge of the Russian language and with no particular personal expertise in any of the areas concerned. In addition the ‘achievements’ were made against a backdrop of turmoil in Russia as it moved from the Soviet system.
It would be fascinating to read Arnold’s take on all of this. Journalists who have investigated Ganley’s claims to have been a major business player in Russia in this period have all run into brick walls – Mr Arnold would be doing his hero a major favour if he produces any evidence to dispel the suspicions that surround the truthfulness of the accounts of Ganley’s adventures in Russia.
Then there are the questions about Ganley’s activities in Iraq. These were probed by RTE. The account of his activities in Iraq given by Ganley clash with the known facts.
Ganley told RTE he walked away “from the controversy surrounding the controversial telecommunications contract in which his consortium was involved in Iraq.
The available material including the remarkable account of Ganley company activities in T Christian Miller’s book “Blood Money: Wasted Billions, Lost Lives, and Corporate Greed in Iraq raise some very fundamental issues which Ganley has to date avoided answering.
In his book Miller suggests that "one case in particular demonstrated how political favours, money and corporate avarice strangled in the reconstruction process and from the start.” Miller is referring to the programme to reconstruct Iraq's telecommunications system and a series of events surrounding Declan Ganley's involvement in that troubled country.
Ganley has sought to suppress any probing of his activities by threatening legal action to prevent questions that should be answered being raised. If Ganley has nothing to hide why the threats? Mr Arnold tells us in Village that he has the answers one looks forward to reading them.
And then there is the issue of Ganley’s Rivada operations. The obvious question that arises is why does the US Dept of Defence dole out contracts to Ganley’s company without the inconvenience of competitive tendering?
The US based Rivada Networks LLC and its various associated companies seem to be Ganley’s main current business operation.
Rivada through its tie up with an Alaskan Native Corporation, Nana Pacific, is in a position to win valuable US government contracts –through the US Defence Department and associated agencies on a ‘sole – bid’ basis.
Companies fortunate to win contracts under these arrangements do not have to subject themselves to the inconvenience of competitive tendering.
This results in Rivada’s case to the company depending in effect on a single client, normally not the happiest corporate position to be in, but as the sole client is the US a less worrying position than might normally be the case – provided the company manages to keep on the ‘right side’ of its ‘patrons’ in the various military & defence agencies.
Rivada’s tie up with Nana goes back to the abortive attempt by a Ganley consortium to win a very valuable contract for the installation of a police telephone network in Iraq during the post war reconstruction, an attempt which led to a major scandal, an FBI investigation - events described in graphic detail by T Christian Miller.
It would be fascinating to have Arnold’s take on this.
It would be equally fascinating to have Arnold’s take on the number of off shore tax havens that appear in Ganley company activities, to have his views of on the $120 million in vouchers handed over by unfortunate Albanian citizens to Ganley’s Anglo Adriatic Investment trust – a matter probed in RTE’s excellent documentary about some of Ganley’s business operations.
Given Arnold’s evident admiration of Ganley & Libertas he might also address the mounting evidence that Libertas has been rather less than successful in bringing together credible candidates for the upcoming EU Parliament elections. Few of the Libertas candidates have any well defined record of public service: some can most charitably be described as full-blown Europhobic.
One further question the Arnold might turn his mind to is why does Ganley always try to shut down opponents with threats of legal action - is he afraid of the truth or is he just a bully?
Ganley likes to talk about openness, democracy & transparency – he is reluctant to practice any of these virtues – as was demonstrated in Libertas reluctance to answer questions as to its funding in last year’s referendum.
While Libertas likes to preach about democracy its founder is not always accept a central feature – the right to hold an opinion that differs from himself. Declan frequently threatens litigation. In this he is travelling the same path as James Goldsmith another rich Europhobe who used the threat of Court action to silence opponents.
In November 2008, Ganley's solicitors issued threats of legal action to Irish politicians, including Joe Costello of the Labour Party. This follows comments by Costello regarding Libertas funding.
According to the Irish Times "Mr Ganley has threatened to sue Mr Costello for substantial damages, following Mr Costello's charge that the Libertas founder has "a subversive foreign agenda".

Ganley also threatened to sue Jim Higgins, the Fine Gael MEP. Higgins responded vigorously & Ganley appears to have backed off.
Ganley has issued several threats to take on journalists including the RTE team that produced the Prime Time special. ( A complaint to BCC on the programme was rejected out of hand )
Action has even been threatened against people posting messages on, a website controlled by a Libertas employee.
Most recently we have had the action against Village Magazine – an action that seems to have faded when faced with a determined and robust defence.
As in so many other areas it would be fascinating to have Mr Arnold’s journalistic take on this.

The June issue of the Village is out now. It also contains two other features on Declan ganley

One by Mark Murray on Libertas and Ganley's far right pan European connections and one by Michael Smith on Ganley's flawed pedigree

France 24 on Libertas and Declan Ganley's links with notorious anti-Semites

Anti-Semitic links - 20/05/2009
Libertas, Lech and some odd bedfellows
By Fiachra Gibbons/RFI

Less than a week after it launched as the first truly Europe-wide party, the new right-wing alliance Libertas is already looking shaky amid a flurry of accusations about links with notorious anti-Semites, questionable funding methods and even an allegation that it is part of a Russian plot to destabilise the EU.

The movement, led by Declan Ganley - the controversial Irish businessman behind the No campaign that defeated a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty in Ireland last year - wants similar votes across Europe on all new treaties. With at least 200 Libertas candidates already signed up to stand in 23 countries, Ganley pulled off a major coup in persuading the legendary Polish Solidarity leader Lech Walesa to kick off their election campaign in Rome. Walesa seemed to wholeheartedly throw his weight behind the new party, telling its candidates that "I am with you always". His endorsement of Declan Ganley and the new party could hardly be more fullsome, saying Libertas and its leader were a "a force for good in the world" who had the potential to "change Europe for the better".

But back in Poland, where Libertas has been headed by the League of Polish Families, who advocate the "elimination of Jewish influence" from Polish life and business, Walesa has been pilloried. His former comrades in the ruling Civic Platform Party, for which his son is standing in June, were quick to turn on him, with one prominent commentator claiming Walesa was acting as a Russian spy and a stooge of the Kremlin.

Having admitted that he was paid handsomely for the address in Rome, Walesa said he still supports his old party colleagues, although he would like some Libertas candidates to enter the European Parliament. "It's better when radicals follow some rules," he claims.

It has also emerged that Libertas's campaign in Poland is being funded with loans Ganley has personally undertaken to underwrite, getting through a loophole in Polish law over foreign electoral funding. But Libertas's French arm, led by the royalist former presidental candidate Philippe de Villiers, denies the practice is widespread and told RFI they will not be taking a centime from Ganley, since such funding would be illegal in France.

The inclusion of De Villiers, who is doggedly anti-Europe, anti-Nato, and against Turkey's entry into the EU, also points to some glaring inconsistencies about policy within Libertas. Ganley claims he is not against Europe, but just wants to reform it, and make it more democratically accountable. His is also pro-Nato and has said he supports Turkey's entry.

Despite these setbacks, Ganley says Libertas support across the continent has rocketed on the back of its simple message that "Brussels is taking away your freedom without giving you a vote". A huge online petition and advertising campaign , that includes banner adverts on Google's email facility, gmail, has made the party's site the most visited of any in the campaign, with "millions of hits", he says.

Ganley, however, remains an elusive and divisive figure. In Ireland, where he spent a part of his teenage years after being born to Irish parents near London, the former teaboy has been dubbed Doctor No, and The International Man of Mystery. His critics claim he has never given a satisfactory explanation about how he built his fortune, which now rests on contracts to supply communications equipment to the US military.

Libertas use of Walesa will backfire former Polish President Tusk “I can say with 100 per cent certainty that Libertas will regret this co-operation

Libertas use of Walesa set to backfire, says Tusk
Donald Tusk: says Lech Walesa will ask Irish to support LisbonDonald Tusk: says Lech Walesa will ask Irish to support Lisbon


POLISH PRIME minister Donald Tusk has predicted that Libertas’s recruitment of Lech Walesa in their European election campaign will backfire when he travels to Ireland.

Mr Tusk said the former Polish president had vowed to distance himself from Libertas positions at odds with Poland’s national interests, in particular on the Lisbon Treaty.

“I can say with 100 per cent certainty that Libertas will regret this co-operation – not Mr Walesa,” said Mr Tusk.

“Lech Walesa told me that in Dublin he intends to appeal to the Irish people to support the Lisbon Treaty. That gave me a great sense of relief.”

Mr Walesa’s paid appearances at Libertas rallies in Rome and Madrid caused consternation in Poland and prompted speculation that Libertas hoped to co-opt the Solidarity legend for electoral gain.

Yesterday, Mr Tusk conceded that the co-founder of the Solidarity trade union and a key negotiator of Poland’s transition to democracy in 1989 was notorious for changing his mind in public.

“On the one hand, you are quite right on that, he’s always good for a surprise. He wouldn’t have been such an effective leader in negotiations with the communists if he did not have this trait,” he said. “But on Poland’s fundamental European policy, he has never cheated, he does not change his opinion. That is my personal conviction.”

Five years after joining the EU, the Polish leader said the global economic crisis had made Poland’s planned euro zone entry in 2012 more difficult, but not impossible.

“It’s still quite a likely development, even if it is more difficult than 12 months ago,” he said. “But euro zone entry by 2012 is not a dogma. We don’t have to prove that Poland can do it at any cost.”

The Tusk government has accepted a $20 billion flexible credit facility from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – not to pump into the economy, he said, but to calm recent volatility in the zloty exchange rate.

“It shows that there are ways and means of maintaining our pace,” he said.

On EU affairs, Mr Tusk expressed disappointment at the cool EU reaction to the Eastern Partnership strategy, co-authored by Poland, to give an accession perspective to Ukraine, Turkey and other prospective EU members.

He was critical of member states who cast doubt on Turkey’s EU ambitions, warning that “a key value on which the EU was constructed was an agreement to abide by contracts”. “There can be no Europe without keeping to contracts,” he said.

Mr Tusk was circumspect about US plans to construct a missile defence facility in Poland and the Czech Republic as agreed by the previous administrations in Washington and Warsaw. “We have already signed agreements and are prepared to go ahead with the installation, but we will not do it without the US,” he said.

Unlike his predecessor, Mr Tusk said he was anxious any deal address Moscow’s concerns that the shield poses a security threat to Russia. “For Poland, good relations with Russia are key,” he said.

Whether on transatlantic relations, Georgia or energy policy, Mr Tusk, a Solidarity activist in the 1980s, expressed hope the EU would be able to show greater solidarity in the future.

“Lack of solidarity is a natural state, while solidarity requires ongoing effort and focus,” he said. “If you have your own gas supplies, it’s very easy to do nothing for another country with none that is cut off. Solidarity is not a condition that can be decreed, solidarity is an attitude that comes from sacrifice.”

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Libertas in Polish media, anti Polish, anti European and dodgy financially

Libertas unlikely prospect according to Polish medis|en&tbb=1&ie=ISO-8859-2

Despite acres of news print and hours of airtime Libertas have failed to make an impression in Poland at barely 2% in latest poll

The fact that Libertas are polling terribly in Poland despite having vast amounts of TV time from the corrupt LPF TVP channel means that their plan to have any significant number of MEPs afetr the June elections is over. Poland has rejected the xenophobic fascism of the own League of Polish Families and have also rejected the anti Polish stance of Libertas in Ireland who want to close the borders to Polish workers,

Civic Platform well ahead in EP opinion poll

27.05.2009 12:2

According to the latest opinion poll, the ruling Civic Platform will gain almost half of all votes cast in the European parliamentary elections on June 7, while Libertas has failed to interest voters.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s Civic Platform is way ahead of the opposition Law and Justice party, according to the poll by PBS DGA.

If the European Parliament elections took place today, Civic Platform would win with 47 percent support, the opposition Law and Justice party would come in second with 25 percent of votes. The Democratic Left Alliance would gain 10 percent support and the Polish Peasant’s Party – the junior coalition party in the current government - would secure nine percent.

The smaller parties are failing to capture voters’ imagination. With the Self Defence party on three percent, Polish Labour Party on two percent, the Real Politics Union one percent, Polish Right party and the Centre-Left party on less than one percent, all would fall under electoral threshold and fail to gain any seats in the European Parliament under Poland’s proportional representation system..

And despite acres of news print and hours of airtime over the past few weeks on Polish media, the anti-Lisbon Treaty Libertas party has made little headway with voters, with just two percent of respondents saying they will vote for them on polling day.

“The survey proves that a low turnout will help the bigger parties like Civic Platform and the Democratic Left Alliance,” Marcin Splawski from PBS DGA pollsters told Gazeta Wyborcza.

The survey was conducted on 22 to 24 May among a sample of 1063.

Turnout in the last European parliamentary elections in Poland, in 2004 – just weeks after the nation joined the EU – was just 20 percent. (mg/pg)

Former Libertas employee Naosie Nunn tells BBC Vote Yes to Lisbon

Declan Ganley's political capital falls further with each media appearance of Naosie Nunn who was a former director of elections for Declan Ganley's Libertas. See him on the link below talking David Grossman on BBC Newstalk. Declan Ganley famously contradicted Naoise Nunn over the fact that Ganley's US Defence contracting firm, Rivada Networks, actually employed Naoise Nunn, and's David Cochrane to set up the Libertas brand in 2007 and early 2008.

The Lisbon Treaty could finally come into effect in 2009, eight years after European leaders launched a process to make the EU "more democratic, more transparent and more efficient".

Naoise Nunn, former executive director of Libertas which campaigned against the Treaty, tells David Grossman why he believes that Ireland, which rejected it last year, does not have the luxury of voting No for a second time.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Ganley lackey and Child/ holocaust abuse denier Hermann Kelly must be squirming now that the report on institutional child abuse is out

Child abuse report, how does Hermann Kelly feel now?

by Hurt Thu May 21, 2009 16:12

The author of "Kathy's Real Story", Hermann Kelly must be squirming now that the report on institutional child abuse is out

The author of "Kathy's Real Story", Hermann Kelly must be squirming now that the report on institutional child abuse is out in the open. Kelly, who used to edit the Irish Catholic and now makes a living doing bits of freelance work, mostly for the Mail, wrote a book that denies the stories of clerical child abuse in institutions. In the book and in his blog and media interviews, Kelly said that the redress board was nothing more than a State ATM for scroungers. He must feel two feet tall now!

The author of "Kathy's Real Story", Hermann Kelly must be squirming now that the report on institutional child abuse is out in the open. Kelly, who used to edit the Irish Catholic and now makes a living doing bits of freelance work, mostly for the Mail, wrote a book that denies the stories of clerical child abuse in institutions. He has also become a pundit of sorts on the topic of child abuse, and is a fan of the "false memory" theory of the "Holocaust deniers" in the debate on clerical child abuse. In the book and in his blog and media interviews, Kelly said that the redress board was nothing more than a State ATM for scroungers. He must feel two feet tall now!
Kelly won't have time to defend his indefensible position these days though, he is too busy working as a propagandist for Euro-hopeful Libertas candidate Raymond O'Malley in Louth. Kelly is thought to be the architect of O'Malley's racist speech where the bearded Ardee man condemned the Polish workers who get PRSI numbers here. Kelly also attends public meetings where O'Malley speaks, and makes contributions from the floor under the alias "Pat Gillick." O'Malley, described by billboard graffitists in Meath as "the IFA reject", was a former pretender to the leadership of the IFA. Farmers in Louth are incensed that he has now turned on them and joined the anti-CAP Libertas.
Kelly and O'Malley; birds of a feather..

How do you map Declan Ganley’s political DNA?

The double helix of DNA defines our characteristics, and links us back to a common ancestor. For all its faults there is much that is honourable in the Irish political DNA. Ireland was the only one of the new republics founded after 1919 that was still a democracy in 1939. The DNA of all the major Irish political parties can be found in the GPO in 1916 and a commitment to an egalitarian and democratic form of organisation of society.

One would be at a loss to map Ganley in this process, but it is not impossible.

What are Ganley’s characteristics?

Swaggering arrogance

An ever so ‘umble beginning

Non descript Thames valley accent

Contempt for the politics of the mere paddies – they are all a cartel evidently

Great Wealth

We can map this to a phenomenon in Irish modern history.

It is the auxiliary division of the Royal Irish Constabulary, who arrived in Ireland from late 1920 onwards to put manners on the mere Irish. The egregious behaviour has often obscured an analysis of who these people were.

They were ex British army officers who had been through the First War, and in most cases had risen from the ranks ( ever so ‘umble beginnings)

They were paid five pounds a day all found – an unheard of sum ( Great wealth)

Some would have served beyond 1918 into the Russian intervention ( one had helped to found the Lithuanian army) The murky east European links remain interesting !

So the Ganley type has a long if not an honourable pedigree in Irish political culture

Image for the day Herr Ganley of the LiberNazis

Sunday, May 24, 2009

No grassroots no vision no votes posters and paid campaigners will not elect Ganley

Higgins leads crowded field
Sunday, May 24, 2009
If Declan Ganley fails to win a seat in the North West constituency, it will effectively be the death knell for his Libertas party across Europe.

Poll figures show that sitting Fine Gael MEP Jim Higgins is the constituency’s clear frontrunner for the first European seat, and Higgins would like nothing better than to go to Brussels with Ganley’s metaphorical scalp in his briefcase. During a walk-around in Ennis last week, Ganley told The Sunday Business Post that he was anticipating a ‘‘less-than-flattering depiction in sections of the national press’’.

‘‘Fortunately, the Irish Times is not a major influence in the North West of Ireland,” he said with a smile, as he sipped a coffee in the Old Ground Hotel, waiting for the rain to clear in order to canvass an outdoor céili.

His dual role as candidate and party leader of a fledgling political party carried personal risks, he said. In the fortnight prior to his visit to Clare, Ganley had made publicity appearances for Libertas in Frankfurt, Madrid, Bratislava, Prague, Warsaw and Britain.

His outing in Ennis was generally positive, and there was a welcoming response to his core of young, smiling and enthusiastic workers, with blue Libertas jackets and umbrellas.

Unlike other candidates who can cover the full length of a street in minutes, Ganley tends to stand and talk. ‘‘He engages people in conversations about European reform and misses ten other people walking past,” said Norrie Keane, Ganley’s campaign manager.

But his campaign crew is different from his opponents in one notable way: because Libertas does not have a communitybased party structure, Ganley has few local canvassers on the ground to provide the invaluable introductions to the locals.

By contrast, Jim Higgins can call on about a dozen locals from the Fine Gael party in each large town to help him press the flesh.

This was the case in Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo, where Higgins was greeted with open arms reserved for a native son. He has covered every significant urban area in his half of the constituency. ‘‘Every single inch’’ he said.

The northern half of the constituency belongs to Cavan based Senator Joe O’Reilly, and Higgins wants to be allowed to canvass there to amplify the Fine Gael vote. Last week, Higgins asked Fine Gael’s national director of elections, Phil Hogan, to lift the prohibition on Higgins canvassing there, but the appeal was rejected.

‘‘Overwhelmingly, people are venting anti-government anger like I have never seen before. It is domestic issues and not European issues that people want to talk about,” Higgins said.

Resources are not a problem for the FG team. Higgins has the use of two SUVs and a bus, all emblazoned with the MEP’s face and the FG brand. By contrast, the other sitting MEP in the race, independent Marian Harkin, last week canvassed the outer region of Europe’s largest constituency in her 2006 dusty-grey Honda Civic which she drives herself. It boasts four small white megaphonespeakers which are wired to the car’s roof.

The addition of Longford and Westmeath to the North West for the first time has made life more difficult, but not impossible, for candidates. ‘‘It is more difficult for an independent when you are on your own, covering what is a huge land mass,” said Harkin, as she knocked on doors in Longford town’s Teffia Park.

In 2004, Harkin was the constituency vote-topper, but polls show her trailing Higgins and Fianna Fáil’s Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher.

But there was much encouragement for her in Longford last week. ‘‘You’re not from Fianna Fáil or the others?” local man Peter Fagan demanded, before inviting Harkin inside for a quick chat.

‘‘I know you from Shannon side [local radio],” several people told Harkin, who said she had consciously made an effort to spread her appearances on local radio in the North and Midwest.

However, Harkin admitted to being ‘‘stung’’ by Ganley’s repeated jibes that her European alliance with the ALDE Group meant that she has entered into a relationship with liberal elements who are pro-euthanasia and pro-abortion.

‘‘It does come up but not much,” she said. ‘‘I explain that I am in fact socially conservative - I just don’t shove it down people’s throats - and that claims to the opposite are baseless and misleading.”

Higgins also defended Harkin last week, saying: ‘‘Anyone claiming Marian Harkin is in some way pro-euthanasia and pro-abortion - it’s just ludicrous.

It’s totally unfounded’’. Harkin said she was more worried that Libertas had implied that some members of her ALDE Group posed a threat to Irish farming interests, saying that she had made a priority to push for the continuation of the single farm payment past the 2013 deadline.

Many in Harkin’s wide retinue of canvassers are friends, as well as supporters. Newtownforbes man Kieron O’Brien’s sister was a boarder with Harkin in Tubbercurry ‘‘back in the day’’, he said, explaining why he was giving up his evening to introduce Harkin to locals in Longford town and hand out leaflets.

Sligo-based Harkin’s campaign style involves hitting as many doorbells as possible; she is concerned at the prospect of a low turnout.

‘‘That would mean that the absolute core vote for Fianna Fáil would come out, but maybe not others who would vote for an independent,” she said.

Fianna Fáil’s Leitrim-based candidate, former senator Paschal Mooney, said he did not believe the turnout would be low and hoped there would be a large vote.

In 2004, when the North West constituency was geographically smaller, the total valid poll was 421,400 and the quota exceeded 105,000. Harkin led the first preferences at 66,664, securing 15.8 per cent on the first count.

The latest Irish Times opinion poll in mid-May put Higgins at 20 per cent, Fianna Fáil TD Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher at 19 per cent and Harkin on 18 per cent.

While out canvassing in Carrick-on-Shannon last week, Mooney also said he had not seen much anti-government sentiment, but much of his style of campaign involves meeting party delegates.

Sinn Féin’s chance of repeating its impressive 2004 first count performance seems unlikely this time, with candidate Pádraig Mac Lochlainn showing at 10 per cent, just ahead of Ganley at 9 per cent.

Meanwhile, Labour’s North West candidate, journalist Susan O’Keefe, has the disadvantage of being in a constituency with no real record of support for her party at European level.

Last time out, the party’s Hughie Baxter was eliminated after the first count with a paltry 3 per cent.
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