Will an “Ireland First” policy win this candidate votes in his potential Presidential bid?

Artist and Irish presidential hopeful, Kevin Sharkey, has stated that Ireland needs to emulate President Trump’s “America First”,  mirroring it with an “Ireland First” immigration policy.

Speaking at a special presidential nomination meeting of Carlow county council, Sharkey, who has Irish and Nigerian parents, applauded the US President and compared him to the popular Western actor John Wayne, adding that people need to accept Trump is “getting the job done."

"In relation to America, I won 50 quid on Donald Trump. When I saw Trump first I said 'oh my god, it's John Wayne'. You remember John Wayne," Sharkey said, continuing to quote the film star by saying "where are the broads at!"

Read more: Ireland’s President Michael D Higgins confirms he’ll run for a second term

Kevin Sharkey has compared President Trump to "The Quiet Man" star John Wayne.

Kevin Sharkey has compared President Trump to "The Quiet Man" star John Wayne.

"He [Trump] hasn't killed as many as the rest of them [former US presidents], but that's the vote. You may not like him, but I would rather a boss who got the job done than a boss who was a nice man.

"He was elected president and we need to get over it," the artist and activist said, claiming that the 45th President should be applauded for taking on such an important role and for "giving up that beautiful wife and golf” when he became US President in his seventies.

Sharkey was joined by Irish Senator and founder of charity Pieta House, Joan Freeman; businessman Gavin Duffy; and independent candidate Patrick Feeney, as they addressed the Carlow council in the hope of winning support for a presidential bid.

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Kevin Sharkey on why he wants nomination to run for Presidency pic.twitter.com/KEmrUoem2k

— Damien Tiernan (@damienrte) August 15, 2018

In order to run in the election set for later this year, hopefuls need the backing of four local councils, or 20 TDs or Senators. There are currently five people hoping to win this support, independent Marie Goretti Moylan not making a pitch to the council on Thursday.

While one independent councilor voiced support for Duffy, Sharkey’s comments sparked some anger, with one member of the local authority stating that he would “never” support a candidate who did not reject Trump.

"When people say put Ireland first, that's just common sense... When I go to Birmingham, Manchester, Luton, I see something I never want to see in Ireland,” Sharkey argued.

"I know racism, this [his comments] is not racism," adding that he has known racism throughout his life.

Read more: Irish immigration backlash? Presidential hopeful Kevin Sharkey touches a nerve

This is not the first time that the artist has spoken out on immigration with the aim of winning a Presidential candidacy. In April, he told the Ray D’Arcy show: "If we don't protect our future, if we don't protect what we have, what has made us Irish, we won't be Irish in 200 years.

"I'm not against immigration. Look at Australia.  They have a beautiful system there. If you are contributing, if you have a trade that we need and you can support yourself you are welcome.

"We should have an honest, open dialogue about it without being shut down and called racist.

“I'd hope to bring an awareness to the fact that in Ireland we seem to have shifted away a little bit from looking after the Irish first,” he added, stating that we had "fallen into this politically correct speech and people are censoring themselves when they really should be able to have an honest dialogue."

Read more: Ireland’s immigration policies closer to Trump than you’d think

The other speakers at the council were also offered the opportunity to speak for 15 minutes about what their Presidential bid would entail. Senator Freeman spoke about clerical sex abuse, sharing her belief that Pope Francis should meet with victims when he visits Ireland.

"Like you, I am very very anxious the Pope will visit the victims of sexual abuse in this country,” she said.

"I would be very disappointed if he didn't, because the Pope has very significant healing powers and we need that as a country."

Do you agree with Sharkey? Do we need an Irish President who is vocal on immigration? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section, below.

Artist Kevin Sharkey. WikiCommons/Sinn Féin