The former President of Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Marion Coy says that the political centre in Ireland must now examine how it presents itself in the current "politics of fear".
Ms Coy, the Chair of the political think tank Collins Institute, was speaking at their inaugural conference, entitled 'Populism: The Response from the Centre', which took place at Trinity College during the weekend.
The former third level chief of GMIT said: “We have an Elvis Presley politics of now or never and increasingly we find ourselves confronted by people like May and Trump saying 'pick me- there is no alternative.'"
She added: "We don’t subscribe to this politics of fear and this creation of a sense of ongoing crisis and we want to try and contest that here in Ireland and make sure that we consider alternatives.
“The question for us in this country is are we too in a politics of fear, and we believe there is a need to have a look at how the centre presents itself in a world that is dominated by this philosophy.”
Ms Coy continued: “One of the characteristics of populism is this creation of a sense of urgency and crisis, so regardless of what country you’re looking at- France, the UK, Hungary, Turkey, Greece and Ireland- there is a sense that time is speeding up and that the unexpected is always awaiting us.
“In Ireland we tend to hear the same voices all the time, so for our conference this weekend we have set out to find alternative voices to emphasise the notion that there are a multiplicity of ways of looking at issues and ideas.”
Speakers at the event included Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe and David Goodhart, commentator and author who predicted Brexit. He is the founder and former editor of Prospect Magazine and also the author of bestseller 'The Road to Somewhere' on populism.
The Institute, a political think tank, says the conference was an opportunity to consider some of the features of social, political, economic and cultural life that have given rise to our increasingly unpredictable political milieu.
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