Irish Presidential Race (or How We Learned A Loophole To Get On The Ballot And Now Any Cunt With A Tenner Goes On The Ticket)

A little bit delayed, but i’ve been meaning to shout about this for quite some time now. Unfortunately I got distracted by – in no particular order – heavy workload, heavy drinking, Just Cause 2, and the whole Palestinian statehood fiasco (on which I will not be commenting around these parts while sober). Before I get into the current, rapidly expanding list of the candidates in play, here’s a little background info that many aren’t still aware of and should understand in order to make sense of the last 6 months of irish current events. Here’s a short run-down on how to become President of Ireland.


Are you 35 years old or more? Are you a citizen of the Republic of Ireland? Reckon you can pull in a million odd votes? Would you like to stomp up the red carpet during Six Nations games and smile for the camera while whispering in the ear of the visiting captain “Paul O Connell’s going to step on your head” ? Don’t fancy paying rent? Got seven (or 14 if you’re lucky) years to kill? GOOD NEWS! You qualify to be President of Ireland, Uachtar Reoite na hEirinn, Caitlin ni Houlihan’s favourite daughter, an chead barra seaclaide isteach an Aras (NOTE – Have been warned to stop taking the piss out of the cupla focail in the past by my gaelgeoir partner in crime, probably for the best).

Common misconceptions about eligibility – You don’t have to be called Mary, you don’t need to be nominated by one of the “big three” political parties, you don’t even need a past in politics.

Well done! Through to the next round, which is everyone’s favourite year-long gameshow…


Wuh-oh, here we go. Those of you who read the above paragraph will have realised that a metric fuckton of people are eligible to put themselves forward. Luckily, this being a democratic republic and all, we have a system for nominating people, right? To make sure we don’t end up with frivolous fringe candidates that have absolutely no popular appeal and are really just wasting everyone’s time, right? Wait, who the fuck is Rosemary Scallon? 

Nope. Up until the 1990 election it was a simple case of “Fianna Fail pick one, Fine Gael pick one, Labour pick one, the guy with the closest connection to the 1916 rising wins”. Then Dana found an old , unused caveat to the selection system, meaning that all you need is the support of 4 county/city councils by majority vote. WOO WOO!!! PARTY TIME EVERYONE! So here’s the ways to be nominated and put on the ballot

  1. Nominate yourself (if you’ve already been elected President and haven’t served two terms)
  2. Be nominated by 20 TDs or Senators. It doesn’t matter which party they’re from, or if they’re from mixed parties, or you have 10 TDs and 10 senators, it’s all pretty flexible. This means that the larger parties can all pick a horse. Currently that’s Fine Gael, Labour, Sinn Fein and Fianna Fail that can just pick a name and throw them on the paper. Labour have gone with Michael D Higgins, Fine Gael have picked Gay Mitchell, and Sinn Fein have picked Martin McGuinness. Fianna Fail can’t agree on picking their collective parliamentary nose at the moment but have already ruled out Brian Crowley, Eamon O Cuiv, and Gay “areyoufuckingserious” Byrne.
  3. Nomination by 4 county / city councils. This is how Dana got on the ballot in 1997 and more importantly why we can now have about 30 people run.
Number 1? No problem, makes sense. Number 2? Well, party politics being what it is aside, it makes sense. Presumably being nominated by 20 house members shows a valid mandate from a large section of society, or at least people that share a stand on some of the issues. Number 3? Let me paint you a picture. It’s 2026, and having just woken up from my rather hedonistic 41st birthday, I decided I need a 7 year break from real work. All i need to do is win over half plus one of the councillors in Limerick City,Limerick County, Clare, and Tipperary. Boom, I’m on the paper. Does that mean I can speak for the entire country? Shit no. It means that I can take my demented ideas about legalising heroin / executing single mothers as an alternative to abortion / invading Britain / making Islam mandatory / whatever the fuck, and spend a good year of spouting my nonsense at any hack with a microphone and having them thank me for my time. So far, here’s the rundown of candidates and how they’ve been nominate (in order of preference according to the latest opinion poll
  • Michael D Higgins (Labour party candidate, 36%)
  • Gay Mitchell (Fine Gael party candidate, 24%)
  • Sean Gallagher (nominated by Cork city, Leitrim, Meath and Clare councils, 21%. “No party affiliation”, but was on the Fianna Fail executive council. Oh, and he’s that bald guy from Dragon’s Den. Go democracy)
  • Mary Davis (nominated by Kerry, Limerick, Louth, Mayo, Monaghan and Tipperary North councils, 19%. Mostly involved in the Special Olympics)
  • Martin McGuinness (Sinn Fein party candidate, I haven’t seen polling info for him yet)
Add to this the inevitable nominations of Dana and Norris (and in case anyone missed it, that’s a fascist and a man who knows he did wrong and has already pulled out) nad you’ve got seven candidates, only three of whom have any chance AT ALL of winning (Higgins, Norris, Mitchell). The rest are merely raising their profile, spouting half-assed bullshit, and wasting all of our time.
Take aside for a minute the fact that Mary Robinson was handed the victory by Padraig Flynn going on RTE and claiming that “she has a new dress and a new-found interest in her family”. Ignore, if you will, Mary McAleese winning unopposed 7 years ago simply because the Labour party didn’t have the stones to run Higgins against the Drumcondra Mafia’s unstoppable popularity at the time (any opportunity to say another so long and go fuck yourself to Bertie and the boys). The easiest way to win the Irish presidential election is still to be affiliated with the most popular party of the time. For this reason I honestly don’t think any surprises lie between here and voting day. The most important part? It’s the 27th of October we’ll all be sealed into our voting cubicles to avoid an unnecessary bloodshed, so here’s what you all need to do (listed in importance as i know how busy everyone is, etc, etc)
1. Register to vote for fuck’s sake (EDIT : Click HERE to check if you’re already sorted)
2. Read a little bit of valid journalism (no, not me, obviously) about the candidates and what they believe in
3. Make up your own fucking mind
4. Get your arse out and vote in a few weeks
Irish Presidential Race (or How We Learned A Loophole To Get On The Ballot And Now Any Cunt With A Tenner Goes On The Ticket)

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