Speaking after the Special Fingal County Council meeting on Monday 10th September held to consider nominating a candidate to contest the Presidential Election, Independent Councillor for the Balbriggan Electoral Area Councillor said:
Listening to people on the doorsteps of Fingal it is clear that there is a real appetite for an election to decide who will be the Nation’s First Citizen.
Cllrs: Darragh Butler, Cathal Boland, Howard Mahony, Brian Dennehy, Adrian Henchy with Senator Joan Freeman following her nomination by Fingal County Council as a Presidential candidate 10th September 2018
The incumbent, President Higgins, intends to exercise his right to nominate himself, and he is more than justified in doing so.
Unfortunately, the majority of Oireachtas Members who have the right of nomination have indicated that they will fail to exercise that right.
In such circumstance, it was important that the Local Authorities exercised their right to nominate candidates to ensure that the people wish for an open electoral contest is facilitated. It is also important that a true contest with a wide range of candidates, representative of the different strains of achievement, contribution and talent is presented to the people and that there be a gender mix.
Each time the election has been contested since the ‘60s the office has evolved and improved.
Therefore I pleased to propose to at the Special Council meeting to my fellow members that we give our nomination to Senator Joan Freeman.
Joan Freeman has real-life experience, she has used that well and drawn strength from its highs and lows. Joan who is a native Dubliner, hailing from Clontarf knows firsthand what emigration is. Due to the lack of employment for her father, the family emigrated to the UK when Joan was just one.
When she was twelve employment prospect improved in Ireland and her family were able to return to Dublin and rebuilds their lives here. For Joan that meant losing the comfort and security of her home of her friends. She’s experienced the upheaval of moving to a new area, making new friends and having to start out in a new school with a different educational approach. Experiences, which so many Mams, Dads and children face in the Ireland of today.
Joan is married and has four Children, and just like all parents, she worries for each one of them. What life will throw at them, what challenges will they face, will they be safe and will they be happy?
A trained Counsellor she has experienced loss through Suicide of her sister. She has used that loss for the betterment of her country, and indeed Joan's influence has spread beyond these shores.
Joan recognises the duties and constitutional role of the Presidency. She also knows that all positions afford the Office Holder the opportunity to give leadership.
I know that Joan, be she be a citizen, a Senator or the holder of the highest Office in the land will use her influence to promote physical and emotional well-being. She values all the children of the Nation, young and not so young, the physically challenged, those who need special help. Her excellent work in establishing Pieta House awaking the Nation’s awareness of the need to bring mental health into the open. The Darkness into Light run is now a major national event. Joan dared to put her hand out to give support, and we all found that hand.
Senator Joan Freemen is a competent person well qualified to be President of Ireland.
The current President is a bright, intelligent, articulate man. He has used his position well and used it to reflect his views. That takes nothing from him nor should it take from any candidate. We are selecting a person, not a sterile puppet to be the President of Ireland.
I believe that Senator Joan Freeman is an excellent candidate and I’m pleased to have had the opportunity to help her on her journey.