This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 4 °C Thursday 12 December, 2019
Advertisement

The Greens are banking on this bearded pro surfer to get them back into the Dáil

Fergal Smith used to surf the waves across the southern hemisphere but now he’s giving politics a go.

FSmith 1

THE GREENS HAVE announced that a professional surfer is to run for the party in the general election.

Fergal Smith, a former Irish surfing champion, spent several years travelling the world and chasing waves, including to the likes of Tahiti and Australia.

He’s contesting the four-seat Clare constituency for the Green Party in the general election, which is expected next month.

The Castlebar native returned to Ireland four years ago to start a farm, inspired by his parents who worked an organic farm on the outskirts of Westport when he was growing up.

The 28-year-old and a group of fellow surfers founded the Moy Hill Community Garden near Lahinch where anyone who wants to get involved can grow organic fruit and vegetables.

FSmith 3 Fergal Smith surfing Source: Green Party

Smith still surfs all along the west coast of Ireland and, according to the Green Party, he is still considered one of the top 10 surfers in Europe.

He featured heavily in the Keith Duggan book Cliffs of Insanity about the dedicated surfers who brave the waves at Lahinch.

“I still am a pro surfer but now I am in farming it’s not as full time. I don’t travel anymore. I just do it out and around the west coast,” he told TheJournal.ie today.

He said he decided to run for the Dáil for his one-year-old daughter because he is “a bit worried” about the future.

I really want to do something about it. I started a farm and we’re trying to feed the local community. But things need to happen at a policy level as well. There are a lot of solutions and things we can do.

Source: Line9/YouTube

Though his appearance and background are somewhat unconventional for a politician, and would lead many to describe him as a hipster, Smith insists he definitely isn’t one:

I’m too busy living and working the farm. I’m up to my knees in mud at the moment, clearing weeds. So I am not doing this for the fame or glory.

Among Smith’s priorities if elected are to make Clare a pioneer in sustainable outdoor and adventure tourism, reduce teacher-student ratios and introduce healthy living classes for all ages.  

He is also championing the Green Party’s school dinners policy.

Clare is a four-seat constituency where there are currently two Fine Gael TDs in Pat Breen and Joe Carey, Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley and Labour deputy Michael McNamara.

All four are running for re-election with Fianna Fáil also running Clare Colleran Molloy and Michael McDonagh. Sinn Féin has selected Noeleen Moran, while the independent hopefuls are Richard Cahill and Anne Norton.

Read: Meet the former Rainbow Warrior hoping to help the Greens surf back to electoral success…

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

Read next:

COMMENTS (58)