The man who is an advocate for the legalization of marijuana in Ireland looks set to make a significant impact in the upcoming general election.
Councillor Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan may have been seen as a weak opponent when he first stood for local election in 2007, but since been elected to office he has become one of the most successful local councilors in the country.
As wikipedia reports initially, he was not portrayed by the media as a serious candidate, shaving his hair and styling his beard in the way of Ming the Merciless from the film Flash Gordon.
His posters and other election material featured cannabis leaves, and legalisation of the plant was one of his main policy platforms. He voiced uncompromising support for radical social and environmental issues, and displayed a knack for using the media, being featured in many newspapers and radio programmes who were attracted by his colourful appearance and strong rhetoric.
However, no one is laughing now.Testament to his local success, last June he was elected as mayor in his native county of Roscommon. Now Mr Flanagan has his eyes set on one of the three seats on offer in the Roscommon-South Leitrim constituency in the upcoming General Election.
Considering this Roscommon constituency has never elected the same three TDs in successive General Elections, the odds for the Roscommon mayor’s victory seem to be in his favor.
From an initial 548 votes when he first stood in Galway west in 1997, the Castlerea local picked up a massive 5,000 votes in Connacht-Ulster in the 1999 Euro Elections.
He achieved 779 first preference votes in Longford Roscommon in 2002 and went on to top the poll with 1,050 votes in the Castlerea electoral area in the 2004 local elections.
In the last local elections in the extended Castlerea-Ballaghaderreen area he polled an impressive 1,556 votes, 17 percent of first preferences.
Earning the praise of his constituents, recently he voluntarily cut his allowances to save the county money. He has taken a 50 percent cut in his formal mayoral allowance, a similar cut in his travel allowance and 100 percent cuts in his foreign travel and conference allowances. He has also called for the President, the Prime Minister, ministers and other heads of government to follow suit.
Speaking about his chances of being elected to Parliament Mr Flanagan said:"If I'm good enough to be mayor, I'm good enough to be one of the people's representatives in the Dail."