Kevin Sharkey is most definitely, above everything else, a dog person.
That becomes instantly apparent as soon as one enters his fabulous basement studio near Trinity College. Sharkey, a Donegal man who has had an interesting life to say the least, having made it through experiences of childhood abandonment, abuse and homelessness, to emerge as a highly successful artist in the running for President of Ireland.
This, as you can imagine, has raised a number of eyebrows amongst both the political elite and the public at large. Make no mistake, Sharkey is someone who has been overall rather successful in life, however he hasn’t had that public presence in politics or elsewhere that most presidential candidates consider a must. To Sharkey, that is much more of a positive than a negative:
“I’ve seen the presidency in Ireland become nothing more than a retirement home for politicians. Politicians with nothing more to say than ‘amn’t I great!’ This should not be about I, about me. It should be about the Irish people.”
Sharkey isn’t just unusual in that aspect though. On many social issues, especially in regards to immigration culture and other progressive social issues, Sharkey leans much harder right than any other person or established party in the political sphere. This is most apparent in regards to his opinion on the demographics of Ireland:
“The ethnic identity of Ireland is,” he says, “that of a white country, and to say that a country should retain its identity is now seen as controversial. I think Ireland is a remarkable place, and I think, in order for Ireland to stay that way, people are going to have to ask themselves ‘How do I want Ireland to be in 50 years time?’, ‘How do I want Ireland to be in 100 years time?’ and once you start asking yourself those questions, you either have to answer ‘I don’t care,’ or ‘I do care.’”
He seems quite keen to preface this though by saying that he is not against immigration. Sharkey says that the nation can only support so much immigration and he is worried that if we end up overwhelming ourselves, we could easily lose what made us unique and wonderful in the first place. In Sharkey’s eyes Ireland is a very generous nation, as he saw firsthand growing up in Donegal, but it is that generosity that could possibly be our downfall. Sharkey believes the Irish aren’t aware of this danger, partly because to speak of it is a social taboo but also because of the bias within the media:
“We live in a society where the media tell us one thing, one thing, one thing, and the fact they do that together at the same time and with the same tone makes me very suspicious of what they’re saying. I don’t believe most of it, I really don’t.”
It’s this bias that makes him feel like he would be a president of value to the Irish people, since he would be able to expose to the nation a new perspective of the world:
“If I could inform people of the real news, as opposed to the fake news designed to frighten you and to make you compliant, then they could make the decisions they really want.”
This got us talking about the motives of those behind the corralling of public discourse. Sharkey isn’t shy about pointing the finger in this regard, saying the media have an ulterior motive with their actions, and are not operating in good faith:
“When you follow the money back, it’s a lot of billionaires who don’t want Trump putting America first.”
Another guilty group in Sharkey’s mind are the German and other elites behind the European Union. For him, their actions are intentionally destroying the Irish identity, describing what they’re doing as a ‘German pincer movement,’ and the ‘rubber stamping’ of the term ‘European’ could end up being at the expense of the Irish identity. He also makes it very clear that this destruction is identical to that faced by Americans.
In his view, the European Unionists are destroying rural Ireland in order to force people into the cities to feed the cabal of multinational corporations who in reality, have a huge influence over both our politicians and our media. What makes this even worse for Sharkey is that it can all be easily avoided and the fact that a revival is possible for our hinterlands but has yet to be properly implemented, with him giving the example of the Wild Atlantic Way and the positive effect it has had on rural communities via tourism as a method of rural rejuvenation.
Lastly he’s quite critical of current President Michael D. Higgins, especially in regards to his recent actions. Sharkey referred to him previously as ‘a man of his word’ in regards to Higgins saying he would not seek a second term, but Sharkey has since revoked his words of praise, and has replaced them with significant criticisms:
“I think the pivotal moment for me was when someone referred to [President Higgins] by his Christian name and he turned on his heel and coughed, and the person responded with ‘Oh I’m sorry, your eminence’, and I thought ‘Oh hold on a minute! You’re the President of Ireland, you’re not Jesus Christ!’”
In regards to his own campaign, when asked how he felt it was currently running, his response was rather to the point:
“One word: Amazing”
Sharkey is most definitely a breath of fresh air for Irish politics, however, what is clear at this point is that his greatest challenge will be getting permission to run. Sharkey seems well aware of this fact, but is also rather optimistic about his future prospects:
“The political establishment will not hold the door open for me, I expected that. But if I get the nomination, the Irish public are a lot smarter than they are given credit for.”
Ultimately however, Kevin Sharkey is at the mercy of mainstream politics for the time being. Needing either a recommendation from 4 County Councils or 20 members of the Oireachtas, right now he has his work cut out for him. However, if this hurdle is cleared, one could easily see this Ireland-first madra-lover in the Áras.