BY BRIAN MOORE
THREE would-be presidential candidates are preparing to set out their wares, in the hope of gaining support from local councillors at a special meeting of Cork County Council on Friday September 7th.
Senator Joan Freeman, John Groarke and former Dragon Gavin Duffy will be in County Hall as part of their campaign to win the support and thus the nomination to contest the upcoming presidential election set for November.
Psychologist, mental health activist and independent politician, Senator Joan Freeman is also the founder of the suicide intervention charity, Pieta House which she set up in 2006. As a Senator she chairs, Ireland’s first Committee on the Future of Mental Healthcare, and she is also a member of the Joint Committee on Children and Youth Affairs. Senator Freeman said when announcing her intention to run for the presidency, ‘I believe that a presidency, which prioritises the wellbeing of this nation, physically and emotionally, is a presidency that delivers the best quality of life for Irish people both at home and abroad.’
Roscommon farmer John Groarke said he is running for the presidency because is fed up with ‘well-heeled’ people continually securing the job of president of Ireland. Mr Groarke said, ‘I feel the people that are running for these high offices are all very well paid most of them and the rural people of Ireland don’t get a look in at these jobs.’ He also told his local Roscommon radio station that ‘You never see ordinary Joe Soaps getting into high office, I believe in a Republic it is the smaller person that is entitled to have a crack at it too. Some of these people are colossally well paid. Some of them are doctors and lawyers they have their jobs to fall back on if they don’t get in.’
Meanwhile, one-time Dragon’s Den star, businessman Gavin Duffy announced his bid on Twitter where he confirmed his intentions to run and said: ‘If I get the required four Council nominations I will run the most modern, dynamic, interactive election campaign possible. If you want to be on the rollercoaster, make history, elect a President that is not just above but is not of politics.’
The businessman has already gained much notoriety announcing that just because he took part in a reality TV show the people of Ireland would not be electing another Trump. ‘Because people think, “Oh, reality TV, another Trump president.” I would be very, very different,’ Mr Duffy said. He also stated that in his option President Higgins speaks to people heads whereas he would be different and would speak to ‘people’s hearts.’