Pieta House founder Joan Freeman seeks nomination for Aras election
PIETA House founder Joan Freeman has written to nine local authorities in the country asking that they convey a meeting so she can make a pitch for their presidential nomination.
In her letter, the Independent senator claims she has “helped change the national dialogue on mental health and wellbeing in this country”.
She also gives an early insight into the themes that are likely to be the focus of her campaign.
“Through the office of President, I will deliver a new civil society initiative which will encourage people to volunteer and to give back to their communities.
“They will work hand-in-hand to address some of the key areas and people needing attention in Irish society: the vulnerable, the marginalised, and those most in need of care,” Ms Freeman wrote.
Her correspondence, seen by the Independent.ie, makes it clear that she intends to be a serious challenger to Michael D Higgins in October’s vote.
The letter has been sent to local authorities in Limerick , Donegal , Tipperary, Clare, Cavan, Dublin South, Fingal, Wexford and Waterford.
Speculation is still mounting about other possible candidates including fellow senators Gerard Craughwell and Pádraig Ó Céidigh. Businessman Gavin Duffy, barrister Noel Whelan, artist Kevin Sharkey and former GAA president Liam O’Neill are also considering a run.
Ms Freeman says the reason she is running is “simple”.
“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.”
She adds that as a senator she has played a “key role” in promoting wellbeing.
“As a country, we are finally waking up to the view that wellbeing provides our people not just with the best personal fulfilment, but also with the most prosperity. However, we still have a long way to go,” Ms Freeman wrote.
“Alongside our economic recovery we have witnessed some of the most impressive technological advancements in society; developments that have provided unparalleled opportunity.
“Our working lives are richer, but more challenging and stressful than before. Our personal lives, especially those of young people, are more virtually connected and yet more isolated than ever,” the letter states.
Ms Freeman also notes her work in establishing the ‘Darkness into Light’ walk which saw over 200,000 people take part this year.
She concludes that over the coming weeks she hopes to “set out my vision” for a volunteering initiative and her presidency “in order to create an Ireland that delivers not just a symbolic resonance with the Irish people, but a role that protects the delivers some of the fundamental imperatives of our Constitution and our Republic”.
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