- Oct 30, 2015
The Irish Freedom Party, also referred to as Irexit Freedom to Prosper (Irish: Éire Amach: Cumann na Saoirse) is a right-wing hard Eurosceptic political party in the Republic of Ireland, launched on 8 September 2018. It advocates an Irish withdrawal from the European Union.
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 Professor Dolores Cahill. 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 in County Kerry. 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 is not yet 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.]
The party reportedly "botched their [party registration] application" by failing to "tick its own box" in advance of the European Parliament election. 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.