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‘I lost a bet so now I’m running for the council’ – Des Walsh

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POLITICAL RIVALS Independent candidate for Castlebar Des Walsh, second from left, pictured with Fine Gael election rival Donna Sheridan, Fine Gael MEP candidate Maria Walsh and Colm Reilly, campaign strategist for Walsh (Des, not Maria).

Edwin McGreal

As election taglines go, Castlebar Independent candidate Des Walsh’s is nothing if not original.
A surprise late addition to the ballot paper in Castlebar, Walsh caught many people off guard.
Indeed, when he put a picture on his Facebook page with Returning Officer John Condon after handing in his nomination papers, most people praised Walsh’s photoshop skills, thinking the picture could not be real.
The Keelogues man has gained a lot of traction on social media for his radical views. Some think it’s satire, others think he’s serious.
But Walsh’s online views have certainly created little indifference. From Flat Earth theories to arguing women should only play sport in the summer months, Walsh has come in for a lot of criticism. He has also spouted views such as Australia does not exist, gravity is an illusion, cats are aliens and that there is a worryingly high rate of infidelity amongst penguins.
He claimed to have led a group of men to the end of Antarctica earlier this year to prove the world was flat. However, no photographic evidence has yet been revealed. It’s what led to him running.
“I had a bet with a friend that if I proved the earth was flat, I would not have to run. He reckons I can’t prove it even though I saw the edge of the earth with my own eyes in the South Pole. Sure my phone fell off the edge so I couldn’t take a picture. That’s how close I was. All these people selling globes are making money from lies.”
So reluctantly Des Walsh declared, lodged his €100 deposit and thought what’s the worst that could happen?
“Then I was in ahead of the closing date on Saturday, May 4, and over the weekend I started to get worried about actually doing well and undermining the political system. So I tried to pull out but couldn’t. The deadline for withdrawing was the following Tuesday at noon. I rang them that afternoon. Too late.
“I think local politics is important and feel strongly about mental health issues. I’m being serious now.
“But don’t vote for me, you’ve 16 other candidates better placed to represent the area than me. But if you want to vote for me, at this stage I can’t stop you.
“If I do well then we’ve a big problem with politics in Ireland. But I think that’s true anyway. If the worst came to the worst and I got in, I would promise people I will repair every pothole in Mayo, even if I have to do it myself.”