Presidential hopeful: ‘Trump hasn’t killed as many people as previous occupants of White House’

Kevin Sharkey
Kevin Sharkey
Kevin Sharkey

Presidential hopeful Kevin Sharkey has praised the work of Donald Trump, saying he hasn’t killed as many people as previous occupants of the White House.

Amid audible gasps from councillors in Carlow, the artist compared the US President to actor John Wayne.

“He swaggered in and was like ‘where are the broads at’.

“Trump isn’t any more likeable or unlikeable than any of the other US presidents. We had Bush and his father. He hasn’t killed as many people as the rest of them.”

Gavin Duffy. Photo: Kyran O'BrienGavin Duffy. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

Gavin Duffy. Photo: Kyran O’Brien

Mr Sharkey said Trump was correct to put America first and if elected to Áras an Uachtaráin, he would make no apologies for putting Ireland first.

He said it is better to have an effective boss than a nice boss.

The Donegal man also put forward controversial views on immigration, insisting that it’s important to keep Ireland “predominately white”.

“I’ve spent my entire life being told what racism is and isn’t. Everybody hated somebody. In the end I had to look at myself, are you racist? I was sceptical of some communities,” he admitted.

At the same time he said his own skin colour should not mark him out from the other candidates in the race to take Michael D Higgins’s office.

Mr Sharkey said Ireland needs to “wake up” to the threat of immigration, especially in a post-Brexit era.

“It’s not racist to have a conversation about immigration without the fear of political correctness taking away our rights,” he said.

The artist said that Ireland should always be seen as a welcoming country but added: “Kindness can sometimes be rewarded by deception.”

Meanwhile, presidential candidate Gavin Duffy has made a thinly veiled attack on Michael D Higgins, saying he will offer more than speeches and tea if elected to Áras an Uachtaráin.

Making a pitch for a nomination from Carlow County Council, Mr Duffy promised to be a “president for all the people”.

He is one of five candidates to address councillors today, including Senator Joan Freeman and artist Kevin Sharkey.

Both Mr Duffy and Ms Freeman indicated that they believe seven years is a long period for anybody to hold the office of president.

They also called for more transparency on how the President spends taxpayers’ money.

Mr Duffy committed to voluntarily publishing details of Áras an Uachtarain expenditure, regardless of whether the Government changes Freedom of Information laws.

The Presidency is currently exempt from FOI legislation and Mr Higgins has recently found himself engulfed in controversy over reports he stayed a Swiss hotel that charges €3,000-a-night for a suite.

“I hope the Oireachtas will amend the law in the necessary way, but the Government does not seem to want to do that.

“If I am elected, I will immediately move to put in place a comprehensive voluntary Protocol to give effect to the requirements of the FOI law in respect of the Office of President, so that the people will know exactly how much is being spent on travel, accommodation, transport, catering and so on,” Mr Duffy said.

Outlining his view of the President’s role, he said it is founded on “people power”.

“I see the President’s ‘soft’ power as one of advocacy, representation, encouragement and acknowledgment for the people, often for those who feel marginalised, or for people who might feel they have never really had a President for them, and for those many people who want to right a wrong, to mobilise a community, to lead positive change for a better Ireland,” he said.

“As President I will be among them, not just talking to them, but more importantly listening to them and bringing their ideas and concerns onto the platform of the Presidency. I will be a President who goes beyond speeches and invitations for tea in the Park.”

In her contribution Ms Freeman talked about how some people believe her advocacy for mental health issues make her a “one trick pony”.

“I’ve been accused of being a one trick pony on several occasions. But the trick is very big.

“Each president respects the Ireland of its time. I think it’s time we looked at mental health. The well-being of our country is absolutely crucial so that if we ever go again through harsh times that we would be resilient,” the founder of Pieta House said.

She also made a stinging attack on the Government and HSE over what she described as their inability to manage mental health services in the country.

After 30 years as a psychologist, a campaigner, a CEO and a Senator, I am under no illusion that any Government will invest more in these [mental health] services.

“They always say they will, but they never ever do. It’s touchy feely, it’s soft, it’s not sexy. That’s just the reality,” Ms Freeman said.

“The type of change I want doesn’t come about by fighting existing realities. It comes from creating new ones.

“Change is not going to come in one law, one bill or one grant. Change will come when we, as a country, believe we deserve a confident and resilient society. It will come when we understand the value of it and when each one of us plays our part in creating it. I want to lead that change as President,” she said.

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