Independent Ireland Faces Major Setback with Elaine Mullally’s Departure

Independent Ireland Faces Major Setback with Elaine Mullally’s Departure

By R McAney

The political landscape of Ireland is experiencing a seismic shift following the resignation of Elaine Mullally from the Independent Ireland party. Mullally’s departure, announced on July 7, 2024, marks a significant blow to the fledgling party, which had recently made waves in local and European elections. Her exit underscores deeper ideological rifts within the party, exacerbated by its controversial alignment with the European Democrats.

Elaine Mullally’s Role and Departure

Elaine Mullally was not just a founding member of Independent Ireland; she was a linchpin in its organizational structure. As one of the three officers registered with the electoral commission, Mullally played a crucial role in candidate nominations and was instrumental in bridging the gap between the party’s leadership and its grassroots supporters. Her resignation, citing a misalignment of values and principles, has been described by many, including political commentator John McGuirk, as a “catastrophic outcome” for the party.

Mullally’s departure came on the heels of Independent Ireland’s decision to align with the European Democrats in the European Parliament. This move, spearheaded by newly elected MEP Ciarán Mullooly, has been met with significant internal and external criticism. The European Democrats advocate for policies such as a militarized EU, continent-wide hate speech laws, and liberal abortion laws, which starkly contrast with the values of many of Independent Ireland’s supporters.

Ciarán Mullooly’s Political Influence and Ideology

Ciarán Mullooly’s role in this controversy cannot be overlooked. Prior to his association with Independent Ireland, Mullooly had a varied political career. He initially made his mark as a journalist and local politician, known for his involvement in rural development and community issues. His political ideology has evolved over the years, transitioning from a focus on local concerns to broader European issues.

Mullooly’s decision to align with the European Democrats reflects his shift towards more liberal and progressive policies. This alignment has been justified by some as a strategic move to gain a stronger foothold in the European Parliament, but it has alienated key figures within Independent Ireland, such as Mullally, who view these policies as antithetical to the party’s core values   .

Internal Strife and Public Reaction

The internal strife within Independent Ireland has been palpable. McGuirk’s commentary highlights the inherent tension between the party’s activist base and its political aspirations. He argues that Mullally’s resignation could trigger a broader exodus of activists and potential candidates, weakening the party’s foundation. This sentiment is echoed by political analysts who believe that the party’s rapid growth and early successes have been undermined by poor strategic decisions and internal discord  .

The public reaction to these developments has been mixed. Supporters of Mullally have expressed their disillusionment on social media, questioning the party’s direction and leadership. Conversely, some members have defended Mullooly’s decision, arguing that aligning with the European Democrats was a necessary step for gaining influence in European politics. However, the lack of a unified response from Independent Ireland’s leadership has only fueled speculation about the party’s future  .

Broader Implications for Independent Ireland

Independent Ireland’s initial promise was built on a platform of common-sense solutions and practical governance. Formed in late 2023 by former independents such as Michael Collins and Richard O’Donoghue, the party quickly positioned itself as a right-wing alternative to the established Fianna Fáil–Fine Gael–Green Party coalition and Sinn Féin. The party’s vision included addressing government waste, healthcare reform, and supporting agricultural sectors, resonating with a significant portion of the electorate.

However, the departure of a key figure like Mullally highlights the fragility of new political movements. Without her, the party loses a crucial mediator who understood both the practical limitations of political strategies and the passionate demands of its supporters. This could lead to a weakened activist base and difficulty in recruiting new candidates, jeopardizing the party’s long-term viability   .

Party Leaders’ Response and Future Challenges

Despite the setback, party leaders have maintained a publicly optimistic stance. Michael Collins and other prominent members have reiterated their commitment to reform and serving the Irish people. They emphasize that their vision for Independent Ireland remains unchanged, focusing on practical solutions to Ireland’s pressing issues, including housing, healthcare, and economic stability.

Looking ahead, Independent Ireland faces significant challenges. It must navigate the internal discord and re-establish trust among its supporters. The party’s ability to recover from this setback will hinge on its leadership’s capacity to address the ideological rifts and present a cohesive strategy that aligns with its founding principles.


Elaine Mullally’s resignation marks a critical juncture for Independent Ireland. It exposes vulnerabilities within a party that has shown potential but now faces the challenge of maintaining unity and direction. As the party grapples with this internal crisis, its leaders must work diligently to stabilize its foundations and reaffirm its commitment to the values that initially drew supporters. The coming months will be crucial as Independent Ireland navigates these turbulent waters and strives to secure its place in the Irish political landscape.


• Westmeath Independent

• Wikipedia on Independent Ireland •

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