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Sunday 24 September 2023 Dublin: 17°C
Fís Nua Dónal Ó’Ríordáin
# Cancer
Banning mobile phones and cigarettes - this MEP candidate wants a simpler way of life
“We are literally floating in a sea of radiation nowadays. It’s completely reckless.”

DÓNAL Ó’RIORDÁIN HAS a difficult time reconciling his work with his beliefs.

He is a computer repair man but steers clear of technology as much as he can due to fear of radiation exposure.

“People are using wireless everything nowadays. It’s linked with cancer. I work in electronics so the risk is greater.”

We are literally floating in a sea of radiation nowadays. It’s completely reckless. Imagine 50 people on a bus and ten of them using phones – the radiation level on the bus is actually cooking you.

So how do his children feel about not being able to have mobile phones? “Not good, they wouldn’t be too enamoured with it.”

The 50-year-old grew up in Connemara, Co Galway but has lived in Bandon in Cork for 24 years.

He made two previous unsuccessful bids to join Bandon Town Council. He was due to contest the General Election in 2011, but his party, Fís Nua, hadn’t been registered long enough at that point. He is running in the Ireland South constituency in next week’s European election.


Ó’Ríordáin, who is also a maths tutor, was a member of the Green party for almost 20 years before joining Fís Nua in early 2011, shortly after the group was formed. He said the new party has about 300 members nationally.

“I would like to see the Greens do well. Eamon Ryan is in with a chance [in the Dublin constituency]. A lovely result would be for 3 Greens and 3 Fís Nuas to get in.”

In a bid to avoid another recession, he has called for a Europe-wide debate on alternative approaches to economics such as a steady state economy – where there is a stable population and a set amount of money in circulation. The idea is to establish a sustainable existence and avoid budget deficits.

He said such a model would be preferable to the current “debt-based system”.

The Irish government is a slave to money. The tail is wagging the dog. The money is deciding what the government does, and the government follows.

“The governments across Europe are in debt up to their eyeballs. Every single one is in debt – it’s not a question of if they’re in debt, but how much they’re in debt.”

He said the Irish government needs to “accept that there is a problem” and remove the country from the eurozone.

We’re essentially bankrupt, every person in Ireland owes a debt of €42,000. If you have a baby, the minute you register the baby you’re attaching a debt of €42,000 to them.

Ó’Ríordáin is part of a Local Exchange Trading System in Cork where members exchange goods and services by using a locally-create currency – LETS Credits.

He said the initiative was “nearly killed” during the Celtic Tiger years, but was resurrected after the recent economic crash and has 30-50 active members.

“I can’t say it’s a thriving success,” he admitted.

‘Fundamentally flawed’

Although he favours dropping the euro, he thinks we should remain in the EU – but only if the Union changes its approach.

Europe needs to take a certain amount of responsibility for what happened in Ireland, [the euro] was ultimately a fundamentally flawed system to start with. Ireland wasn’t the only one that had a collapse … The Irish taxpayer should not have has to pay the burden.

O’Ríordán is in favour of wind turbines but said they should only be installed in a way that is “sensitive” to people who live nearby. He is staunchly anti-nuclear energy and anti-pylon, instead favouring underground cables.

A ‘no canvassing’ approach

Ó’Ríordáin has limited funds to spend on his campaign and will not be distributing any leaflets or posters. Or doing any canvassing.

“I haven’t done any [canvassing] to be honest and I won’t be. People have a choice. My name will be there on the day if people want to vote for me. If you’ve a ballot paper without opposition [candidates], you have a problem.”

Dónal Ó’Ríordáin on…

On the powers MEPs have

You probably have very little say in matters … but you’re in where it’s happening and where the decisions are made. You’d have to liaise with various organisations in Ireland and use their expertise [to make an impact]. You’re a link to Europe, you’d need to be very active in engaging people.

On banning cigarettes

31 per cent of the Irish population die from cancer. When I was young smoking seemed unlikely to stop but there’s been a gradual decline … There should be an outright ban on cigarettes, not tobacco – that’s a natural substance. There are up to 2,000 chemicals in cigarettes, tobacco does a fraction of the damage.

On fluoride in our water

It’s a huge issue for the country. A fair per cent of cancer is caused by fluoride in the water. I have my own well … There’s a deadly poison being put into our water supply. You couldn’t make it up, it’s completely daft.”

On US military aircrafts using Shannon airport

We’re supposed to be a neutral country. Why is it still happening? A lot of it is sweetness and light, people are keeping people sweet. There’s a fear that American multinationals will pull out if we say ‘Sorry, get the military out of here.’ It’s a separate situation, they wouldn’t pull out … [The US] is not flying down bombing Iraq now, it’s a good time to end it.

On his chances in the election

None whatsoever, but that’s fine. The aim of this is to put the party out there so the party goes on the map and says: ‘Look, we’re here’. You wouldnt know with local candidates. I don’t think we’ve any chance in the Europeans, but you never know how people will vote on the day … You make the noise and people do hear it.

At the end of the interview Ó’Ríordáin was given’s EU politics quiz — four questions on the history and workings of the European institutions. Here’s how it went:

How many member states are there?
28. [Correct]

Who is the head of the European Commission?
Eh, let me remember now … Is it a German guy? [It's José Manuel Barrosso, he's Portuguese]

When did Ireland join the EEC?
1973 [Correct] That’s memory, not knowledge.

How many seats will there be in the European Parliament after the election?
No idea. [It's 751] Wow. One out of 751? What influence would you have?

Read: Here’s who Fine Gael picked as European election candidates for Ireland South

Read: ‘From Ballyhea to Brussels’: Anti-bailout campaigner launches MEP bid

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