National Party (Ireland, 2016)

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National Party

An Páirtí Náisiúnta[1]
LeaderJustin Barrett
Deputy LeaderJames Reynolds
FoundersJustin Barrett
James Reynolds
Founded16 November 2016 (2016-11-16)
HeadquartersGranard,
County Longford, Ireland
Youth wingÓige Náisiúnach (Nationalist Youth)[2]
Ideology
Political positionFar-right[3][4]
Colours  Dark Green
  White
SloganIrish: Ar dheis ar aghaidh!
(Forward and to the right!)
Website
nationalparty.ie

The National Party (Irish: An Páirtí Náisiúnta) is a minor far-right[5][6] nationalist[7] political party in Ireland. The party was founded in November 2016 and has no elected representatives.

History[edit]

Formation[edit]

The party was founded in 2016, by Justin Barrett as party president and James Reynolds as party vice president. The National Party had planned to hold its press launch in the Merrion Hotel in Dublin but the event was cancelled by the hotel,[8] which subsequently said it had done so for "public safety reasons".[9] There had been much adverse reaction online to the announcement of the launch.[3][10][11]

Barrett, who was raised in County Tipperary, has a background in anti-abortion and anti-immigration politics, formerly being a leading figure in Youth Defence and campaigning against the Treaty of Nice. Barrett attracted media attention due to his participation in events in both Germany and Italy organised by far right parties, the National Democratic Party and Forza Nuova, respectively, in the 1990s.[12] Barrett has denied sharing their far right views and said he attended these events in his capacity as an anti-abortion campaigner.[9][13][14][15] In 2016, in an interview where he incorrectly overstated the levels of migration to Ireland by a factor of three, he called his attendance at these meetings "a mistake".[16]

Reynolds, from County Longford,[17] was the County Longford affiliate for Youth Defence in the early 1990s.[18][19] He was associated with the Libertas Ireland political party in 2009,[20][21] and campaigned for a no vote in the Fiscal Compact referendum in 2012 as chairman of the small Farmers for No group.[22][23] Reynolds was previously the Longford county chairman of the Irish Farmers' Association, and national treasurer of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association. He was suspended from the IFA in 2012 for "bringing the county executive into disrepute". In March 2017 he secured a temporary High Court injunction preventing his dismissal as national treasurer of the ICSA,[24] but the High Court upheld his dismissal from the role in June 2017.[25]

The party held its first Ardfheis in November 2017, at the Trump International Golf Links and Hotel Ireland in County Clare. Approximately fifty delegates attended. Barrett criticised Fine Gael in his speech for not calling its annual conference an ardfheis. John Wilson, a guest speaker from County Cavan, challenged homophobic comments made by deputy leader James Reynolds. Barrett defended Reynolds' comments and reportedly answered in the affirmative when asked by Wilson whether the National Party was "only for straight Irish people". Wilson then walked out in protest at the comments.[12]

Abortion Never campaign[edit]

Abortion Never was formed as a No campaign by the National Party in March 2018 to contest the 2018 referendum to legislate for abortion.[26] Abortion Never presented itself as "an Irish nationalist anti-abortion campaign."[27] At the launch of the campaign, Barrett stated that if the abortion referendum passed, it would lead to euthanasia for the elderly; "It doesn't just begin with abortion and stop there. It ends in euthanasia, because they already have a plan. You see discussions in the newspapers sometimes, 'What are we going to do about the pensions crisis?'".[28] At the same event, he called for the abortion referendum campaign to be "as divisive as possible". The referendum was ultimately approved by 66.4% of voters.

Elections[edit]

In April 2019, the party was added to the Register of Political Parties for Dáil, local and European elections,[29][30] but did not field candidates in the 2019 local elections or 2019 European elections.

The National Party contested an election for the first time at the 2020 general election. It put forward ten candidates, although party leader Justin Barrett did not run himself.[31] No candidates were elected,[32] with a share of first preference votes between 0.49% (224 votes) and 1.74% (983 votes) in their respective constituencies.[33] Party vice president, James Reynolds, had 1.74% of first preference votes (983 votes) in the Longford–Westmeath constituency.[34]

Standards in Public Office Commission[edit]

In November 2020, the Standards in Public Office Commission announced that the National Party were one of five political parties who failed to provide them with a set of audited accounts for 2019, in breach of statutory obligations.[35]

Protests[edit]

Members of the National Party holding up a banner and signs containing noose imagery during a protest directed at Roderic O'Gorman in Dublin in July 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic in the Republic of Ireland, members of the National Party participated in several anti-mask and anti-lockdown protests.[36][37][38] There were violent clashes at several events promoted and attended by party members in October 2020 and February 2021.[37][38][39][40]

In July 2020, the National Party organised a protest against Minister for Children Roderic O'Gorman, who they accused of being sympathetic to paedophiles.[41] During that protest, members of the party unfurled a banner and signs depicting a noose.[41] Actor John Connors, who had attended the protest, subsequently issued a public apology (which O'Gorman accepted) in which Connors stated that he had allowed himself "to be lead and be part of an online frenzy that cast hurtful and false assertions" on O'Gorman.[42][43]

Ideology and policies[edit]

Descriptions of the National Party in the press have ranged from it being right wing[44] to far-right.[45][46][47][48]

The party has a set of "Nine Principles", which espouse a nationalist, anti-abortion, Eurosceptic and anti-immigration platform.[7]

National Party leader Justin Barrett at the party's 2017 Ard Fheis in County Clare.

Barrett has called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering Ireland and for greater vetting efforts to be made,[5] stating that "all of them are potentially dangerous",[49] though he later clarified that he does not believe Ireland needs a complete ban on Muslims entering the country.[50] The party also favours racial profiling.[5]

The party supports a renegotiation of Ireland's relationship with the EU, including a withdrawal from the Eurozone, but does not support exiting the European Union itself. They have described the EU as "dictatorial".[5]

The party makes an irredentist claim on Northern Ireland; the first of its "nine principles" is copied from the old Article 2 of the Irish Constitution: "The National Party believes that the territory of Ireland consists of the whole island of Ireland, its islands and the territorial seas."[51]

It advocates the reintroduction of the death penalty for "particularly heinous crimes".[52]

The party opposes same-sex marriage, stating that it is "against gay marriage, but not gay people".[5] In 2016, Barrett declared marriage equality a "sham" and "not natural."

The party opposes allowing any law permitting abortion in Ireland, supports repeal of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013, and refers to the X Case as "obtuse".[53] The party endorsed a No vote in the abortion referendum, and campaigned against it through the Abortion Never campaign.

Barrett has spoken in support of a form of economic nationalism which he deemed "intelligent protectionism".[54]

Election results[edit]

Dáil Éireann[edit]

Election Seats won ± Position First Pref votes % Government Leader
2020
0 / 160
Steady 12th 4,773 0.2 No seats Justin Barrett

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Baile - Páirtí Náisiúnta". nationalparty.ie. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Youth - The National Party". nationalparty.ie. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  3. ^ a b Larkin, Laura (17 November 2016). "Far-right party's launch is cancelled". Irish Independent. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  4. ^ "Ireland: Hundreds rally in violent anti-lockdown protest". dw.com. Deutsche Welle. 28 February 2021. Retrieved 1 March 2021. Among the crowd were people wearing clothing with the logo of Ireland's far-right National Party CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ a b c d e Clarke, Vivienne (18 November 2016). "Ireland's National Party in favour of racial profiling, says leader". The Irish Times. Retrieved 7 February 2018. Justin Barrett says there needs to be complete ban on Muslims coming into the country
  6. ^ Ó Coimín, Maitiú (20 September 2019). "Google translates Ireland's far-right 'National Party' as 'Nazi Party'". Irish Central. Retrieved 29 December 2019.
  7. ^ a b Leahy, Pat (17 November 2016). "National Party leader espouses creation of 'Catholic republic'". Irish Times. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  8. ^ D'Arcy, Ciarán (16 November 2016). "Merrion Hotel cancels launch of anti-immigration political party". The Irish Times. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  9. ^ a b O'Driscoll, Sean (18 November 2016). "Far-right party may sue hotel over snub". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  10. ^ "Dublin hotel cancels launch of new extreme right-wing party which had been planned for tomorrow". TheJournal.ie. 16 November 2016. Retrieved 7 February 2018. The National Party, while a heretofore unknown entity, is not the first such right-wing movement to emerge in Ireland in recent years.
  11. ^ McEnroe, Juno (17 November 2016). "Far-right party's 'opportunistic' launch in Merrion Hotel called off". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  12. ^ a b McCarthy, Justine (26 November 2017). "National Party walkout over Varadkar gay slur". The Sunday Times. London. ISSN 0956-1382. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  13. ^ Humphreys, Joe (12 October 2002). "Barrett admits he attended far-right meeting". The Irish Times. p. 9. Mr Barrett, who earlier this week declined to confirm or deny to The Irish Times his attendance at the meeting in the Bavarian city of Passau in May 2000, yesterday admitted he attended the conference, as well as an estimated two other events linked to the NPD.
  14. ^ Scully, Derek (11 October 2002). "Extreme-right group confirms Barrett link". The Irish Times. p. 1. Justin Barrett was an honorary guest at our event in Passau. I invited him. He sat with the delegates," said Mr Holger Apfel, the deputy leader of the NPD. "We have been in contact with his group since 1996. We are friendly with his Youth Defence organisation.
  15. ^ O'Donnell, Francis (29 September 2002). "Fascist Link of 'No to Nice' Chief". Sunday Mirror. Archived from the original on 19 November 2016. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  16. ^ "Justin Barrett on his return to right-wing politics". Today FM. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  17. ^ Heavey, Fiona (16 November 2016). "New right wing political party to launch tomorrow". Leitrim Observer. Retrieved 5 June 2018. Dublin's Merrion Hotel has cancelled an event on Thursday to launch a new far-right political party in Ireland.
  18. ^ "I Was A Member Of Youth Defence". Hot Press. Vol. 16 no. 22. 18 November 1992. The proposed chairperson of the local YD affiliate, Mr James Reynolds
  19. ^ Grennan, Geraldine (16 October 1992). "Low-key abortion campaign so far". Longford Leader. p. 3. locl "Youth Defence" activists, Hames Reynolds, from Loughill, Coolarty was not involved in Friday's demonstration
  20. ^ "ICSA uneasy with its treasurer's new venture". Irish Farmers Journal. 17 November 2016. Reynolds was formerly IFA county chair in Longford. He was suspended from the IFA in 2012 for a year... an emergency meeting of the ICSA’s executive board is scheduled for this Friday to deal with the issue.
  21. ^ "Controversial IFA man takes ICSA position". Irish Farmers Journal. 6 February 2014. Reynolds, who received the suspension from Longford IFA for bringing the county executive ‘into disrepute’, also has strong connections to the Libertas political party.
  22. ^ "Local farmer elected to the helm of ICSA". Longford Leader. 13 February 2014. In 2012 Mr Reynolds was handed a one-year suspension by the IFA for bringing the Co Executive into ‘disrepute’. He has strong connections to Libertas and it was he who spearheaded the ‘Farmers For No campaign’ in opposition to the EU Fiscal Compact Treaty of 2012
  23. ^ "IFA outlines stance on Lisbon". RTÉ. 16 September 2009.
  24. ^ Cherfi, Saurya (18 April 2017). "Farmer granted High Court injunction preventing removal from role in farm group". Irish Independent.
  25. ^ O Faoilean, Aodhan (27 June 2017). "Longford farmer and National Party's James Reynolds loses High Court bid aimed at preventing his removal from ICSA". Longford Leader. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  26. ^ "Yes and No campaigners register as 'third parties' with watchdog". The Irish Times. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  27. ^ "Abortion Never - Abortion Never". Abortion Never. Archived from the original on 2 April 2019.
  28. ^ Coyne, Ellen (21 March 2018). "You're next if abortion law repealed, far-right tells elderly". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  29. ^ "Iris Oifigiúil - Number 28 - Friday, 5th April, 2019" (PDF). irisoifigiuil.ie. Government Publications Office. 5 April 2019.
  30. ^ "Register of Political Parties - 29 April 2019" (PDF). oireachtas.ie. Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  31. ^ "General Election Candidates 2020". nationalparty.ie. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  32. ^ "General Election 2020 - National Party". thejournal.ie. The Journal. 10 February 2020.
  33. ^ "Election 2020 - Limerick County". irishtimes.com. Irish Times. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  34. ^ "Election 2020 - Longford-Westmeath". irishtimes.com. Irish Times. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  35. ^ McDermott, Stephen (26 November 2020). "SIPO 'very concerned' about failure of Aontú and Renua to submit statements of their annual accounts". TheJournal.ie. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  36. ^ "Raising ire in Ireland: Covid lockdowns prove fertile breeding ground for far-right groups". irishexaminer.com. Irish Examiner. 6 February 2021. Retrieved 27 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  37. ^ a b "Hundreds clash in violent exchanges at Dublin protest". irishtimes.com. Irish Times. 11 October 2020. Retrieved 27 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  38. ^ a b "Three gardaí injured and 23 people arrested after clashes at Dublin anti-lockdown protest". irishtimes.com. Irish Times. 27 February 2021. Retrieved 27 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  39. ^ "Large garda presence keeps things under control at Dáil protest". irishexaminer.com. Irish Examiner. 10 October 2020. Retrieved 27 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  40. ^ "Conspiracy fans jubilant over demo 'success'". thetimes.co.uk. The Sunday Times. 28 February 2021. Retrieved 1 March 2021. Yesterday's protest in Dublin was organised through anti-lockdown Facebook groups [..] and the right-wing National Party promoted the protest on their social media pages CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  41. ^ a b Gallagher, Conor (19 September 2020). "The far right rises: Its growth as a political force in Ireland". Irish Times. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  42. ^ Kelly, Olivia (20 July 2020). "Roderic O'Gorman accepts John Connors apology for 'deranged' campaign". Irish Times. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  43. ^ Hosford, Paul; Moore, Aoife (6 February 2021). "Raising ire in Ireland: Covid lockdowns prove fertile breeding ground for far-right groups". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 6 February 2021.
  44. ^ Fahrenthold, David A. (2 January 2018). "Trump's Irish golf course lost $2.3 million in 2016". Washington Post. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  45. ^ Larkin, Laura (17 November 2016). "Far-right party's launch is cancelled". Irish Independent. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  46. ^ Curran, Ian (19 September 2020). "'The Infodemic': Ireland's weak far-right hopes to gain from online conspiracies and misinformation". TheJournal.ie. Retrieved 23 November 2020.
  47. ^ O'Keeffe, Cormac (13 October 2020). "Criminal probes into clashes at far-right protest in Dublin". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 23 November 2020.
  48. ^ Gallagher, Conor (10 February 2020). "Election 2020: Far-right candidates put in dismal showing". Irish Times. Retrieved 23 November 2020.
  49. ^ Quann, Jack (18 November 2016). "Irish National Party calls for temporary ban on Muslims entering Ireland". newstalk.com. Newstalk LTD. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  50. ^ Tamkin, Emily (18 November 2016). "Oh, So Now You Want to Go to Ireland?". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  51. ^ "National Party Principles - The National Party". The National Party. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  52. ^ "Principles". National Party. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  53. ^ "Press Statement by the National Party on the "Citizens' Assembly" Outcome". 29 April 2017. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  54. ^ "Justin Barrett - Setting a New Economic Agenda for Ireland". YouTube.

External links[edit]