At the Athy College Art Exhibition last Friday night, April 15, Fine Gael’s Mairead McGuinness MEP announced she is seeking her party’s nomination to run for the office of President of Ireland.
Ahead of an internal selection convention next month, Ms McGuinness threw her hat in the ring when she made her long-awaited announcement to seek the nomination.
Speaking at the opening of the annual art exhibition, the combined work of 50 adult students who undertook art courses by day or by night at the Athy College, she said: “Having thought long and hard about it, tonight I want to tell you that I have decided to seek the nomination of the Fine Gael Party to run for the presidency.
“I am making this announcement here at this celebration in Athy because I firmly believe the seeds of hope for our country will be found in our power to create and in the infinite ability of our collective imagination. It is in our creativity that we will find the capacity to bring about a new vision for this country,” the MEP added.
Speaking to the Leinster Leader afterwards, McGuiness said she had “genuine gra for Athy and hugely admired the south Kildare town’s community spirit.
“In 2004 in my first foray in politics, I remember being on Athy’s main street and talking to people I really felt we might win the European elections. I got incredible warmth, support and encouragement and I have never forgotten than. Secondly an exhibition of adult art is close to my heart and it is my third time to be involved in this launch and to open it. Every time I am here I am encouraged. They are great people that throw their hand at art and the works created. I genuinely felt Athy was the right place and it was the right time to announce my decision.
The 51-year-old from Co Louth is a former broadcaster and journalist. She became an MEP in 2004 when Enda Kenny’s team picked her as a high-profile runner and she has twice topped the poll in European elections.
Athy College Campus principal Cllr Richard Daly said it was a real “coup” for the town and “a nice surprise” for the 300-plus crowd in attendance.