Wednesday 20 September 2017

We need a Ganley without baggage

We are sorely lacking in new voices along the mainstream of the left-right spectrum, says Daragh McDowell

LAST week Irish politics saw the return of Declan Ganley, who after declaring at the start of the referendum campaign that he would join it with gusto once he had picked a side, predictably declared he would be voting No. This adds much-needed balance to a campaign that has thus far been Sinn Fein and the ULA against everyone else. There was a threat that the treaty would be passed simply due to the inability of its opponents to reach far beyond the left of the political spectrum. It is to be hoped that Ganley will be able to bring the arguments for rejection to other audiences, if only to ensure a robust debate.

But Ganley's political stock is now so diminished that it is unlikely he can bring many more supporters to his banner, other than those who were likely to vote No in the first place. I've even heard opponents of the treaty worry that Ganley's presence on their side makes passage more likely. This is a great shame. Ganley, for all his flaws, has consistently shown a keen mind and a willingness to challenge political orthodoxy that is sorely lacking in the State.

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