PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CANDIDATES BOOKLET
MARY DAVIS Independent candidate â€œI want to be a practical president in the service of the Irish people. All my working life I have been committed to the values of equality, fairness, respect, empowerment and involvement. In 2004, I was appointed to the Council of State, which advises the President on constitutional issues. The Presidency is more significant now than ever. People are suffering a crisis of leadership. I have seen firsthand what the Presidency can achieve. I believe that young people should play a role in the office of the Presidency; I would as President appoint a young person to the Council of State. In addition, I believe that young entrepreneurs should accompany the President on trade missions overseas to give them exposure to new markets, new ideas and new ways of doing business. Today, the global community is sceptical about Ireland; this has to change. Ireland needs a strong advocate globally because Ireland has a strong story to tell. It has never been more important to ensure that the voice of our country is heard by those of influence, never more important to have as President a person who can bring the real story of Ireland to the wider world. The elements that made us unique still exist: our resilience, talent and innate belief. With direct responsibility for managing Special Olympics, I have worked with governments and businesses across 58 countries. I have engaged with world leaders. I have sat across the table from EU representatives and negotiated a better future for people with disabilities. Real change can happen. The Constitution has served the people of Ireland well since 1937; it is inextricably linked to our history and national identity. However, our Constitution, like our laws and institutions, must be subject to scrutiny, transparency and debate. Our national discourse needs to shift from markets, bonds and banks, back to what is most important: our people. There are five rights or pillars which I believe should be explicitly expressed in our constitution. These are: the right to food and water, the right to health care, the right to housing, the right to a minimum level of social assistance and the right to life-long learning, education and training not restricted by age. I believe the State must progressively realise these pillars within the limits of its resources. The people of Ireland should decide by way of referendum whether such rights should be included in a revised constitution. We must first restore our pride in ourselves before we can regain respect abroad. I am standing as an independent candidate. I come from a background that is defined not just by my roots in Mayo but by a lifetime of work with local, national and international voluntary organisations, from my time as a teacher in St. Michaelâ€™s House in Ballymun to my most recent role as the Managing Director of Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia. I would encourage you, your friends and families to lend your voice and support to my campaign and to exercise your democratic right by giving me your number 1 vote on 27 Octoberâ€?. Mise le meas MARY DAVIS
Find out more at www.marydavis.ie
SEAN GALLAGHER Independent Presidential candidate The two biggest challenges facing students and graduates are unemployment and emigration. I believe that the next President must be relevant to those current issues. I want to do for enterprise and job creation what President Mary McAleese did for the peace process. Fourteen years ago, no one could have conceived how President McAleese would shape the role as she has done, to reflect the real issues of the day.
When I meet students as I have done over the past three years as I worked with them to provide advice, mentoring and support, I have been struck by the level of optimism that they share. Yes, students and graduates are fully aware of the high levels of unemployment and the fact that many may emigrate, but I also hear of their real love of Ireland and the hope that if they do leave that they will one day come back.
As President, I want to ensure that students and graduates have all of the options they might hope for; whether that is a job, travel abroad or the opportunity to return home when they chose.
As I see it, the President can play a huge role in inspiring others by highlighting, celebrating and supporting what works in enterprise and entrepreneurship at home. Those who are creating jobs in communities around this country are holding those communities together, ensuring schools and shops stay open and that the local sports club can field a team. Abroad, a President could contribute by leading trade missions to open new markets, attract foreign investment and promote Ireland as a tourist destination. And who better, than someone who understands business and enterprise.
I have faced many challenges in my life, from unemployment to setting up my own business, to coping with limited eyesight. I have had a varied career, in agriculture and farming, youth and community work, public service, enterprise and entrepreneurship. Yet I have always put my strengths to work and in doing so, I feel have succeeded in making a contribution to my community and society. That is my message to students I meet; put your strengths to work, find what you are good at and pursue it.
Everyone has a contribution to make and I hope that a President who puts enterprise at the heart of next term will result in you having all of the options available to follow your dreams. Regards
Find out more at www.seangallagher.com
MICHAEL D. HIGGINS Labour Party candidate I was born into humble circumstances in Limerick, and raised in Clare by a family who had paid a huge price following the tumultuous events of the foundation of the state. It was only after some years spent working in a factory and then in the ESB that I had the opportunity to attend university – the first in my family to do so. There I found ideas to support a natural instinct for equality and went on to become the President of the Students’ Union. As a young academic, teaching in Manchester and the University of Indiana before returning to UCG, I strove to ensure that people of a similar background to myself had the opportunity to access education. I put that into action by traveling to towns and villages across Ireland to provide outreach courses to interested citizens where-ever they might be. I retain a lifelong commitment to adult education and I continue to be one of our most passionate champions of the power of ideas and in education as a great liberator. I have fought in the Dáil to protect free education, and was a long-time proponent of the Student Support Bill. “We must accept that participation in education is no longer a luxury but a necessity for one’s full development and participation in society. We must move towards trying to establish as much universal access as we can.” My interest in education is not confined to higher education. As Labour Party spokesman for many years I campaigned for access, creativity and inclusion in our primary and secondary schools. Since then I have continued to take a passionate interest in education; supporting initiatives such as Educate Together, recognising and listening to the voices and insights of children themselves, challenging homophobic bullying and economic disadvantage and championing initiatives such as access to a musical instrument for every child. Serving as Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht in the 90s, I was responsible for ending censorship on Irish television, investing in new public museums, local arts venues and helped transform the Irish film industry from a 12 million industry into one now worth over €400,000 and employing thousands. A renowned author, poet and speaker, I have a deep connection and commitment to the Irish language –– which led me to set up TG4 while in office. Often in the face of lazy or conservative consensus, I have always been at the forefront of campaigns for rights and equality for citizens of all ages, consistently speaking out in support of minorities such as those with disabilities, asylum seekers and the homeless, and in the fight for equal rights for women and the LGBT community. I was amongst the first to campaign for access to contraception or divorce in Ireland. For these causes I have braved harsh political storms and, in earlier years, paid heavy prices. I have conducted humanitarian and peace-building work in many countries across the world, and I am currently honorary Adjunct Professor at the Irish Centre for Human Rights in NUIG. I ask for your vote on October 27th to give voice to my vision for an inclusive and creative society where all have the chance to access the highest levels of education, and to fulfill their creative and innovative potential. Mise le meas Michael D. Higgins Find out more at
DAVID NORRIS Independent candidate Senator David Norris has committed his life to public service, firstly as a lecturer at Trinity College, Dublin, and then in public service after he was first elected to the Senate in 1987. He has been re-elected in every Senate election since, and topped the poll in the 2011 election. He has spent his life campaigning against injustice and inequality and spent his time serving constituents. He is now seeking the nomination for the Presidency of Ireland. David believes successive governments put the interests of the establishment and the preservation of the system above the welfare of the people. For years he has used his elected position in the Senate to speak out against this act of betrayal and was one of a handful of Senators to vote against the blanket bailout of the banks. David will put the welfare of the people at the heart of his Presidency. This underpins the three pillars of his campaign, which have been informed by his entire life’s work — mental health and well-being, enterprise and culture. So, what will make David Norris’s Presidency different? Each month he will champion one county in Ireland. He will visit that county, meet its representatives and highlight its needs and celebrate its successes. Over the first 26 months of his Presidency David will visit every corner of Ireland to help unify the country. His Presidency will focus on inclusion, regardless of race, religion, education, class or sexual orientation. David Norris is the only candidate who has actually used the Constitution to help protect a marginalised minority. He has established businesses that created employment. He has set up counseling services to help people in need. Throughout his political life he has stood in solidarity with the marginalised and protected the human rights of children and adults. None of his opponents can offer what he offers in terms of his track record. David is not only an independent candidate, but an independent thinker. The government controls the Dáil, the Senate and most County Councils. By electing David as an independent candidate you will be ensuring that the last lever of power, the Presidency, will remain firmly in the hands of the people. Remember, a vote for David is not only a vote for democracy, it is also a vote to help change Ireland for the better. www.norrisforpresident.ie
MARTIN MCGUINNESS Sinn Féin candidate Throughout my involvement in politics, all I ever wanted was to make a contribution – a difference – to empower and unite people. I never sought financial gain or privilege from my involvement in politics and never will. I live in the same community where I was born and raised. Travelling around the South in recent years I have felt anger at the impact of reckless economic policies pursued by the rich and powerful on ordinary citizens. People are struggling with mortgages, left on hospital corridors and young people are emigrating. Political leaders must offer something better – hope – a better future for the people of Ireland. I am proud to have served in government alongside unionists. I cherish the relationship I developed with Ian Paisley and Peter Robinson. That relationship symbolises my philosophy that nothing is impossible and no problem is unsolvable. Ireland needs the same approach now: Irish people, here and abroad, all working together to see our nation succeed, to see it united, to see it rebuilt. As we approach the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising it is timely that we have a President who believes that managing our own affairs is the right of the Irish people, not the IMF or EU. My commitment to you •
Making peace – I will use the Presidency as a platform to continue building the peace process and bring about national reconciliation.
International experience – I have met three US Presidents, numerous British Prime Ministers and was invited to South Africa by Nelson Mandela. I have been to Iraq, the Basque country and Sri Lanka to help in the search for peace.
People’s President - I will be a voice for the people. Citizens contributing to their communities are essential for a healthy society. I will make Aras an Uachtarán a welcoming place for all sections of Irish society.
Leadership – If elected I will only take the average wage. This is something I have been committed to throughout my political life. I will bring the same energy, dedication, determination I brought to the peace process to the office of President.
Tá m’fheachtas oscailte do chách. Is feachtas bunleathan a bheidh ann bunaithe ar na prionsabail mhóra phoblachtacha agus dhaonlathacha a thugann buntaca do náisiún na hÉireann. During this campaign I will seek to reach every parish in this land and talk to people up and down the country. I want you to join me on this journey. I will be a people’s President – a President for a new republic in a new time. www.thepeoplespresident.ie
GAY MITCHELL Fine Gael candidate I believe in Ireland’s future – in part, because I understand our past. We face hard times, but we come from strong stock.
I don’t appeal to any one class – I seek to appeals to those who are striving to cope; those in factories, farms, offices and shops who keep the country going. As President, I will put the welfare of our people at the heart of the Presidency by continuing much of the practice of President McAleese, quietly working to make our country a better place.
Today we need to revive not only our economy, but also the core qualities that built our country. I want to help ensure that we drive our recovery with a sense of enterprise and social justice.
I also believe that we can build our future through our actions abroad. As a TD for 26 years and a Member of the European Parliament for the past seven, I have experience making connections around the world and being a voice to promote Ireland, our business interests, and our reputation overseas.
Since my nomination by the Fine Gael Party, I have travelled the length and breadth of the country talking to people about what they want from the Presidency.
By mid-September I had covered 16,000 kilometres, visited 111 Irish towns and cities and spent time in 43 electoral constituencies. I have spoken with and listened to people across the length of the country. For me, it has been an informative and invigorating experience,
Over the course of the next five or six weeks the Irish people will make up their minds on who they wish to represent them as Uachtarán na hÉireann. It’s vital that over the coming weeks the candidates engage in a thorough debate about the Presidency and about where Ireland sees itself at this crucial juncture in our history.
I understand our past, I believe in Ireland’s future, and if you give me your vote on October 27th, I pledge to work here and abroad to renew both our economy and our country’s spirit. Sincerely
Find out more at www.gaymitchell2011.ie
DANA ROSEMARY SCALLON Independent candidate Ireland needs a President it can trust more than ever now. We are faced with constitutional crisis and fiscal crisis.
Under my Presidency there will be no loss of sovereignty. Irelandâ€™s Constitution and the right of selfdetermination is safe in my hands.
The people of Ireland have the right to the ownership of Ireland and the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be Sovereign and indefeasible, otherwise our nations struggle for independence was in vain.
There will be no foreign landlords, especially bondholders and banks, I would prefer to burn the bondholders than the families of Ireland.
We need an Independent President with no political ties or boardroom or business favours to repay, a President who cannot be bought who listens to the people and represents everyone and can rebuild trust between the people and the institutions that have failed them. I will be that President.
I have lived in both the North and South and will continue the peace process, like outgoing President McAleese. My presidency will seek to bring home peopleâ€™s children who have been forced to emigrate. I feel the pain brought by emigration, my eldest daughter; her husband and my new grandchild recently had to leave our country only a month ago to seek employment, as did my younger son last year. I have always been an Ambassador.
If elected President I will bring the experience and recognition of representing Ireland as a businesswoman and entertainer for the past forty years; As MEP in the European Parliament engaging with heads of Governments, heads of States and with Presidents; Associating with international leaders of Faiths and with leaders of business. I will bring this experience to the role of Presidency. Kind Regards
Dana Rosemary Scallon Find out more at www.danaforpresident.ie www.facebook.com/danaforpresident
Presidential Candidates - Manifestos