Irish Freedom Party
|Founded||8 September 2018|
|Colours||Green, white and orange|
The party president is Hermann Kelly, a former teacher and journalist, who was the Director of Communications for Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD). The party chairperson is Dr. Dolores Cahill, professor of translational medicine at University College Dublin. The party has no representation at local or national level.
On 3 February 2018 an 'Irexit' conference was held in the RDS in Dublin, advocating an Irish withdrawal from the European Union. It was attended by former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, author and columnist John Waters and academics Anthony Coughlan and Karen Devine. On 8 September 2018, a conference was held in the Bonnington Hotel in Dublin to launch the new party. Independent guest speakers at the launch included former Ambassador of Ireland to Canada Ray Bassett and Professor Ray Kinsella, a UCD economist. Approximately 250 people attended the event.
In early March 2019, a number of regional newspapers reported that a party-member named 'Mairead Donovan' was listed on the organisation's website, and would be running as a candidate for local elections for Kerry County Council. The Ireland edition of The Times later reported that the candidate did not exist, and that the website image was a stock photograph. In responding to these reports, party spokesperson Hermann Kelly acknowledged the mistake and fault in allowing the placeholder profile and stock imagery to be published on the website, and clarified that the group was not planning to run any candidates in local elections.
In late March 2019, the organisation launched a nationwide billboard campaign ahead of the European elections, reportedly funded by members of the party. Sources from the Irish advertising industry estimated that this may have cost up to €40,000. The party did not answer questions from The Irish Times about whether the donations received are in line with Standards in Public Office (SIPO) Commission guidelines. Under those guidelines, a third party must register with the Commission if a donation exceeding €100 is accepted which is directed towards a political purpose. The party had not registered as a third party with SIPO.
Following its launch, the party held several regional public meetings, including one in Raheen, County Limerick during which broadcaster George Hook spoke about the "politically correct" Irish media.
In advance of the European Parliament election, the party reportedly "botched their [party registration] application" by failing to "tick its own box". Hermann Kelly admitted their application was rejected because of a mistake made by the party and that it would need to resubmit the form. As a result, it was not registered as a political party before the deadline for nominations in the 2019 European elections (15 April 2019), and so candidates it had planned to put forward under the Irish Freedom Party name had to list themselves as independents. Hermann Kelly ran in the Dublin constituency, while party chairperson Dolores Cahill ran in the South constituency. Neither candidate was elected, with party leader Herman Kelly receiving 2,441 (0.67%) first preference votes, and Cahill receiving 10,582 (1.47%) first preference votes. The party's registration was subsequently completed, and the Irish Freedom Party (IFP) was included on the Register of Political Parties as of 13 June 2019.
The Irish Freedom Party contested its first election as a registered political party in the 2019 Wexford by-election, running Melissa O'Neill, a former member of Sinn Féin who served on Kilkenny County Council from 2014 to 2019. She received 489 (1.2%) first preference votes and was eliminated on the first count.
The party fielded 11 candidates in the 2020 Irish general election, with none being elected, and candidates achieving a share of first preference votes between 0.19% (119 votes) and 2.06% (956 votes) in their respective constituencies. Party chairperson Dolores Cahill came second-last in the Tipperary constituency with 0.6% of first preference votes (521 votes).
Position regarding vaccines and lockdown
During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, a number of representatives of the Irish Freedom Party spoke at an anti-vaccination and anti-lockdown rally. The protest rally, held in Dublin and attended by Ben Gilroy and Dolores Cahill, was linked to far-right groups by several media outlets. Cahill also spoke at an anti-vaccination and anti-lockdown event in London, and published a video (later removed by YouTube) which reportedly claimed that COVID-19 could be cured or curtailed by "eating healthily and taking vitamins C and D" and that there was "no need for a vaccine".
The party has published policies in favour of reduced government spending, lower tax, freedom of speech and association, and in opposition to the carbon tax. It advocates independence from "either London or Brussels", desiring to leave the EU and to re-unify of Ireland by consent. It advocates "zero tolerance" of corruption and the "separation of powers" in the state.
Some commentators have linked party leader Hermann Kelly with alt-right ideologies, pointing to a recorded discussion which Kelly had in 2018 with far-right activist and former British National Party member Jim Dowson. In the video Kelly said "The first thing they want to do is kill Irish kids and [they] want to replace them with every nationality who wants to come into our country", a statement which several news outlets associated with the great replacement conspiracy theory. In 2019, Kelly stated that "those talking about a Great Replacement in Ireland have a point", and in an interview with LifeSiteNews, referred to what he called the "great replacement of our children". Kelly later stated that he believes in "one human race" and has not supported "theories of racial superiority".
|Election||Seats won||±||Position||First Pref votes||%||Government||Leader|
0 / 160
|10th||5,495||0.3||No seats||Hermann Kelly|
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- "Merchandise | The Irish Freedom Party". 1 November 2020.
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- @AarRogan (2 April 2019). "Irexit botched their application to register as a party ahead of the European elections, because they didn't tick a box on the form. Are resubmitting today and hoping it is processed asap "as we have deadlines to meet"" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
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- "General Election 2020 - Irish Freedom Party". thejournal.ie. 10 February 2020. Archived from the original on 10 February 2020.
- "Election 2020 - Results - Dún Laoghaire". irishtimes.com. Irish Times. 10 February 2020.
- "Election 2020 - Results - Tipperary". irishtimes.com. Irish Times. 10 February 2020. Archived from the original on 10 February 2020.
- "Four men arrested at anti-lockdown and anti-mask protest in Dublin". independent.ie. Independent News & Media. 23 August 2020. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
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- "Four Arrested at Anti-Mask Protest". fm104.ie. FM104. 22 August 2020. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
The Custom House Quay protest, organised by Health Freedom Ireland, has connections to far-right groups [..] with speakers from the Irish Freedom Party in attendance
- "32 arrested at anti-lockdown protest in London". irishtimes.com. Irish Times. 19 September 2020. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
- "The Infodemic". thejournal.ie. Journal Media Ltd. 19 September 2020. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
- "Ireland's Plandemic: How a YouTube video about coronavirus racked up almost one million views before it was taken down". thejournal.ie. Journal Media Ltd. 15 August 2020. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
- "Policies". irishfreedom.ie. Irish Freedom Party. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
- "Irish Freedom Party - Principles". irishfreedom.ie. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
- "Irish Freedom Party - Tackling Corruption". irishfreedom.ie. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
- "Dowson- Kelly interview". youtube.com. 29 December 2018.
- "How the far-right is exploiting immigration concerns in Oughterard". irishtimes.com. Irish Times. 16 October 2019. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
"The first thing they want to do is kill Irish kids and [they] want to replace them with every nationality who wants to come into our country," Irish Freedom Party leader Hermann Kelly [..said..] in an interview this year
- @hermannkelly (2 September 2019). "What a cheek! Not a word about incentivising talented and skilled Irish diaspora to come home. According to this, looks as if those talking about a Great Replacement in Ireland have a point. Who is doing the discrimination now?" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "Abortion is 'stain' that 'should be removed' – Hermann Kelly". irexitfreedom.ie. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
Party media release referring earlier interview in which Kelly states "we must control the quality and number of economic migrants [..] we don't want the brutal demise or 'great replacement' of our children"
- "Twitter (@hermannkelly)". twitter.com. 29 July 2020.
No I had a recorded discussion with Jim Dowson after he made a video condemning potential sectarianism re Roscommon evictions. I discuss and debate things with people all the time. There is only 1 human race and I've never plugged theories of racial superiority. #irishfreedom