| 4.6°C Dublin

Church protester to run for Greens

AN 81-year-old pensioner who led a one-day Mass boycott last year over the Catholic Church's treatment of women is to contest the general election for the Green Party.

Jennifer Sleeman is to challenge for a seat in Cork South West -- but warned that at her age she doesn't intend to go out canvassing and knocking on doors in all kinds of weather.

Mrs Sleeman said she intends being "a paper candidate" with the aim of highlighting green issues via her candidacy.

"At my age I won't go out knocking on doors in all kinds of weather. I have to be careful that I don't get too tired. But I hope that by running I can remind people of the importance of 'green' issues and the need to make a better world for generations to come," she told the Irish Independent.

The pensioner -- who lives in Clonakilty -- made world headlines last year when she organised a one-day Mass boycott for September 26.

Internet blogs were swamped by thousands of messages of support for her courageous stance.

However, the Catholic Church later insisted that the boycott campaign had no noticeable impact on Mass attendances.

Mrs Sleeman was one of the founding members of the Green Party and was also instrumental in helping turn Clonakilty into a 'Fair Trade Town'.

Last night, Mrs Sleeman said she was very excited by the prospect of contesting the general election -- and said she had been involved in green politics for three decades.

Green Party chairman, Senator Dan Boyle, last night hailed the 81-year-old as "a shining example of activism".

Irish Independent