Introducing some of the ‘new Irish’ running in this year’s local elections

“If you look at our Dáil or our Seanad - there is no person who looks like me."
Robert Kindregan
Robert Kindregan

21.18 14 May 2024

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Introducing some of the ‘new I...

Introducing some of the ‘new Irish’ running in this year’s local elections

Robert Kindregan
Robert Kindregan

21.18 14 May 2024

Share this article

Some 69 people who were born outside of Ireland are confirmed to be running in this year’s local elections so far, according to the Immigrant Council of Ireland.

On The Hard Shoulder today, Newstalk’s Josh Crosbie caught up with some of the so-called ‘new Irish’ candidates to see why they decided to run and how their campaigns are going.

Josh said it’s already the “most diverse election” this country has seen to date.


First up, he travelled to Greystones to meet with Labour Party candidate Anne Waithira Burke who moved to Ireland 20 years ago from Kenya.

Ms Burke said she decided to run as she couldn’t wait for other people to make the changes she believes are needed in Ireland.

“I started thinking I was ready to be the voice and be at the forefront of change,” she said.

“If you look at our Dáil, our Seanad, there is no person who looks like me.

“Even within my own area, I’m the only black person who is running.”

Online abuse

She said running in the local elections has made her a target of online trolls.

“When I announced I was running online I was told to ‘go back on my banana boat’ and asked ‘what does a monkey want to do in Ireland,’ and things like that," said Ms Burke.

“It’s all online and I’m not the only one getting it.

“A lot of things are blamed on immigration in Ireland and we need to dispel those myths and stereotypes because they’re not true.”

Anne Waithira Burke. Image: Facebook

Fianna Fáil’s Navan candidate Kashif Ali moved from Pakistan to Ireland in 2006 and said he would prioritise housing and transport links if elected to Meath County Council on June 7th.

“The community in Navan has given me and my family quite a lot,” he said.

“An opportunity came along and I was asked to do this role and said, ‘Yeah, why not - it’s about time young people get involved’.

“Young people are essential to the next generation because we need to have a voice for the problems we’re facing at the minute.”

The 27-year-old, who once played minor football with Meath, said he’s “never experienced racism at all” in Ireland.

“I like to think as a family we’ve contributed a lot to the country,” he said.

“I consider myself to be an Irish man and people like me need to stand up and have our voices heard.”

'Unity in the community'

In Killarney, Josh spoke to independent candidate Natalia Krasnenkova who arrived in Ireland as a refugee from Ukraine two years ago.

She said her election slogan is ‘unity in the community’ and hopes to help employers fill job vacancies in Kerry if elected.

“It’s my commitment to the people who will vote for me,” she said.


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Ms Krasnenkova said her campaign doesn’t have the same resources as other candidates in the area.

“I haven’t spent that much money,” she said.

“I will spend €100 to nominate myself and I will spend about €300 for posters and leaflets – that’s all.

“I don’t pay for advertisements, I do canvassing by myself and I organise my social media by myself.”

Some 53 ‘new Irish’ candidates ran in the 2019 local elections with just nine acquiring a seat.

You can listen back here:

Main image: A local election count centre in 2019. Photo: Sam Boal/ 

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