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'Many think we're wrong to leave the Dáil, others want us to f**k off out of here' - Mick Wallace

“If people of the far-right want to run, that is there prerogative – I am not of that ilk,” he said.

Image: Leah Farrell

IN THE SAME week as Independent TD Mick Wallace called the National Children’s Hospital  “a fucking joke”, he also announced he is running in the European elections.

The Wexford TD said he and fellow Independents 4 Change TD Clare Daly were in “two minds” for the last five or six weeks about whether to run.

But both have decided to throw their hats in the ring. 

As one of the more vocal TDs in the Dáil, Wallace has raised concerns about the government proceeding with the children’s hospital build, NAMA, garda whistleblowers and various international issues. 

While he often gets into tetchy back-and-forths with the Taoiseach, often questioning who is advising him, Leo Varadkar told TheJournal.ie this week that he is a bit of a fan of both Wallace and Daly.

He said they are both serious politicians, and he might even throw them a vote (his Fine Gael colleagues might wonder about such comments). 

Whether a thumbs up from the Taoiseach will do damage or good to Wallace in the polls, the TD told this website that he is still unsure as to whether running is the right decision. 

A seat in Europe

If we don’t do this now we will always wonder if we should have done it,” he said, stating that it was “very difficult to know how we will get on… many think we are wrong to leave the Dáil, others are glad to see us go, and want us to fuck off out of here.

“In 2011, when I ran as an independent the biggest thing said to me was that I would be lost in the Dáil as an independent, but Clare Daly and myself argue that we have been the main pillar of the opposition,” said Wallace. 

3072 Mick & Clare_90547555 TDs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly arriving at the Disclosures Tribunal last year. Source: Leah Farrell

If that is the case, who will replace the opposition?

He doesn’t know, but said he believes he has been “most effective in the Dáil”.

“We take very serious the issues that we have raised in the Dáil, we’ve done our best, people can judge how well we did,” he added, stating that there are a lot of “games” played in the Irish parliament. 

“We never play games,” he said, something the Taoiseach agreed with this week, stating that Wallace never gets into “point scoring”.  

Wallace admits there is a “mixed bag” of candidates running in the European elections in May, acknowledging that not all are from the same views and opinions as himself. 

Far-right candidates

“If people of the far-right want to run, that is their prerogative – I am not of that ilk,” he said. 

He raised concerns about the “distasteful commentary” surrounding immigration, adding that “it is actually a scandal that we are not taking more [asylum seekers] in”. 

Wallace said the people risking their live to cross the Mediterranean have had their lives destroyed by Western governments. He said countries such as Ireland often congratulate themselves, but the treatment of Travellers in Ireland shows we “are every bit as bad” and “are not ones to be throwing stones”. 

Like other prospective MEPs, Wallace believes European powers are “undemocratic”, adding that Brexit has raised a lot discussions about European reforms. 

The reasons the UK voted to leave the EU are “many and varied”, explained Wallace, who added that one reason that is not often reported is that people who voted to leave were from less well-off backgrounds, “who didn’t feel represented by politicians”.

They essentially stuck two fingers up at Westminster and the EU,” he said, adding that in his opinion, the Nice and Lisbon Treaty did “serious damage to the effectiveness of democracy in the EU” which had “gone very neo-liberal.

Europe, to Wallace, has moved to “looking after those that need the least looking after”, citing farmers and the threat to their livelihoods as an example. 

Environmental issues are another matter Europe has been “burying its head in the sand” on, he said, stating that Ireland is the “biggest culprit” in Europe. 

What are his chances of a seat? 

“People can judge whether they think I can make a difference in Brussels. I will certainly work very hard if elected.”

“We think we can make a difference, but it is hard to know. But we can, God knows Europe needs a shake up, whether it is possible is another thing, but you have to try.”

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