Apart from leading Gardai and the Irish judicial system on a merry dance in recent months – Ben Gilroy was also the leader of Direct Democracy Ireland. Alas, all good things must end and like Caligula he had a good time while it lasted. The highlight for Ben was the Meath East by-election. He beat Labour’s candidate into fourth place. Polling 1,568 first preference votes. Not bad for a fella whose campaign and policies were built around fundamentally skewed readings of basic legal principles.
At DDI’s AGM in Drogheda over the weekend Ben resigned as party leader. In a statement issued on DDI’s Facebook page they said –
Following on from our AGM in Drogheda on Saturday last, we can confirm that Ben Gilroy (Leader of DDI) has resigned his position as leader for personal reasons. Ben Gilroy will however remain a member of DDI. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Ben on behalf of all of our members for the great work he has done over the past few years.
We would also like to congratulate Jaan Van de Ven who has been chosen to lead Direct Democracy Ireland into the local & European elections this coming May. He brings a wealth of experience with him and he received unanimous support from all in attendance at the AGM.
This is the end of an era for DDI but also the start of a new one.
This may be the end of an era, but it also looks like the end of DDI. So far, they have three declared candidates for the up coming local elections, all running in Drogheda. For a small party running three unknown candidates they are unlikely to win any seats.
The new leader of DDI is the wonderfully named Jan Van de Ven, a household name in the making no doubt. Jan is a fluent Dutch speaker and a native of Los Angeles. Jan’s website tells us he is to be a candidate in the upcoming European elections. He neglects to mention where he is planning on running. As someone who has been involved in local and general elections, I have usually found it helpful for a candidate to let people know where he or she is planning on running.
Jan would also like you to donate to his campaign. He has set himself the lofty goal of raising €200,000. The very definition of hope over optimism and let’s face it – realism.
Jan’s Twitter page is interesting. When I say interesting – I mean, he makes Ben Gilroy look credible.
Mr. Van De Van has a tough task on his hands. In the finest of Irish political traditions, DDI is riven with splits and acrimony and is a magnet for every two-bit political loon. Don’t expect it to be taken seriously by the voter or the media anytime soon. Can Jan become the Van de man of Irish politics? Answers to the usual address on the back of a stamp.
BONUS VIDEO: Ireland is a plebiscite – Jan Van De Ven.