With the prospect of a General Election looming, possibly before or immediately after Christmas, the question is posed “Will the National Party be running candidates?” either as Independents, or if the bureaucratic stall on registration is removed in time, as officially National Party. It’s a curious question really since it’s been answered well over a year ago, and long before such an election was in such immediate sight. It was answered in run-up meetings before the public launch of the Party, in members meetings since the Party launch, and even as late as the Ard Fheis last weekend. The straight answer is No, but in fairness it’s hardly as simple as that.

The inspiring growth of the Party over the relatively short space of one year might lead people to think confidently that now is the time, that the logic of calm delay and steady progress presented by all Party representatives and publications might be set aside in a rush of blood to the head, and a dash for success. It is heartening that such confidence exists, and it’s not entirely without basis.

However, it would be a grave mistake, an unforgivable, because it was foreseen, mistake. It is true that the National Party has grown significantly faster than we expected. Members probably sense that at cumann meetings, where they have already taken place. It is also true and was always so, that it is our firm belief that a significant section of the Irish public are crying out for a real alternative to the status quo which they are rightly sick of, or the lunatic left which they rightly fear. And we believe that the National Party offers that alternative, that what we think is more widely thought than the established parties and media could ever believe possible.

Practical knowledge and prior experience forewarns us against getting dragged into battles not of our making at timing not of our choosing. It is one thing to have the latent support of a large section of the electorate, it is another thing entirely to convince them that our Party represents their thinking, and in particular that a specific candidate of ours would best represent them right now. It is also one thing to talk of a growing Party membership, the confident beginnings of a local cumann system, and a national organisation capable of taking on the huge resources available to the establishment parties and the vicious media bias we would no doubt encounter.

Consequently, we have kept our focus on the Plan, and in particular on the Base Stage of the Plan, which is the recruitment of activists for the National Idea. This is a bigger project than one election. One election, however, could deal a fatal blow. Going into it with unprepared candidates, an unprepared organisation and a straightforward lack of adequate funding, would give our enemies the excuse of pointing to relatively disappointing results as the full measure of our potential support in an election we weren’t prepared for. And in turn morale would suffer. How much so would depend on many factors.

It is also possible that the electorate are so revulsed by the current alternatives that we might gain some surprise victories. But surprising they would be, and only a gambler would embark on that course on such a possibility.

So, the National Party will not present candidates in a General Election called within the week or the next few weeks. We have important work to do before that.

Calm. Steady. Build. Prepare. Wait.

The time to Charge for Ireland will come, not a moment too soon and not one too late either.

Calm. Steady. Build. Prepare. Wait.

Justin Barrett
Uachtarán An Pháirtí Náisiúnta