LEFT: Fiona McLoughlin Healy RIGHT: Gemma O'Doherty
Newbridge councillor, Fiona McLoughlin Healy has proposed Gemma O'Doherty to be the council’s nominee for the presidential election.
"As of Tuesday three dragons have now successfully been nominated to join the race for the Arás. This means that over half of the platform of the campaign for the presidency will be from the perspective of well off business men. At a time when homelessness is on the increase, the number of children in direct provision is growing, members of our Defence Forces are on the bread line, and not enough is being done to prevent power and profit accumulating in the hands of a few through the ownership of media, telecommunications, private hospitals and possibly broadband provision we need a representative presidential campaign that won’t shy away from issues of growing concern to its citizens," said Cllr McLoughlin Healy.
"Issues that go to the heart of what constitutes a legitimate, fair and prosperous republic for our citizens cannot be given the attention they deserve in a campaign dominated by business men. Increasing dissent around how or why political favours and connections have led to a two tier system of opportunity in Ireland will not be highlighted or challenged by politically connected business men. It has never been more important to listen to diverse views and to welcome robust debate. The more open and robust the debates around the presidential campaign the more democratic the outcome."
She said that although she is unclear about Gemma O Doherty’s position on certain issues she is happy to propose that Kildare County Council nominate her to join the other five candidates already nominated.
"Gemma has a very important message to convey about cronyism and corruption in Ireland. As a person she has been motivated by a desire to uncover wrong-doing rather than by profit. She has dedicated herself to investigating and pursuing issues in the public interest, at significant personal cost. She is then, on those grounds alone, as least as deserving of a nomination as three dragons.
"Adding Gemma O Doherty to the election ticket would allow her to challenge, and to be challenged on, issues of importance to citizens. The election outcome may still be the same. I would have no objection to that. President Higgins has done a great job. But the presidential campaign itself is an important opportunity for a real debate about where we find ourselves at as a Country and, where we want to move towards in the next seven years."
She acknowledged and welcomed the successful nomination of Senator Joan Freeman and Liadh Ní Riada to the ticket.
"Liadh Ni Riada, Senator Joan Freeman and Gemma O Doherty together would constitute a diverse and democratically healthy counter-balance to a preponderance of dragons," she said.
Kildare County Council is to make a decision on who to ratify on Monday. It can also decide to nominate no particular candidate.