If you’re among the 7% of the electorate who believes that Ireland should abandon its membership of the European Union and follow the United Kingdom into glorious diplomatic and economic isolationism, congratulations. From next Saturday you will have your very own political representation in the form of the Irexit Freedom Party, a new anti-EU grouping which The Irish Times reports:
…intends to run candidates in the next national and European elections.
Backers of the party include former Irish ambassador Ray Bassett, UCD professor Ray Kinsella, former journalist Hermann Kelly and Paddy Manning, who came to prominence as a gay man who opposed the 2015 same sex marriage referendum.
I was tempted to dismiss the maverick, right-wing organisation as the the “West Britain and Commonwealth Party”. However, there may be some hope for it. From a 2016 report by The Mirror newspaper in the UK:
A key Euro aide to Nigel Farage is a hardline Irish Republican who spent a boozy night in a Brussels bar as other drinkers sang pro-IRA songs .
Derry-born Hermann Kelly was pictured sitting among a 10-strong party in the Ketje pub just minutes from the European Parliament , where he is the UKIP leader’s most senior political adviser.
When quizzed about the gathering by the Sunday Mirror, Mr Kelly insisted he had been drinking with three UKIP party employees.
Mr Kelly, UKIP ’s Director of Communications in Brussels, was introduced to our reporter by a political pal who joked: “Meet Hermann, the only Irish Republican on Nigel Farage’s payroll. Now that’s a story!”
Confirming he did hold Republican beliefs, Mr Kelly said this stemmed from his roots in Northern Ireland’s second largest city and asked: “What else do you expect from a man from Derry?”