President Higgins' daughter Alice Mary Higgins confirms European Election bid
INDEPENDENT Senator Mary Alice Higgins, the daughter of President Michael D Higgins, has confirmed she is running in the European Elections.
She is seeking a European Parliament seat in the Dublin constituency.
Ms Higgins was nominated by 60 members of the public who gathered in Dublin this morning.
Candidates can either be nominated by a party, pay a financial deposit, or secure 60 signatures to get on the ballot paper.
There was a Commissioner of Oaths on hand to witness the nomination forms being signed at an event in Smock Alley Theatre today.
Ms Higgins said, "I chose this method of nomination because it reflects what I want for the EU, a more direct connection with the public.
"Europe is more than its institutions, it is made up of places and people and shared principles."
She said the Dubliners who nominated her did so because of her record of "championing the best ideas from Europe while also pressing for positive reform."
She said that if elected she wants to ensure that Ireland makes its voice heard in debates on equality, environment, economy and peace.
According to Ms Higgins Europe has historically played an important role in improving quality of life in Ireland, raising employment standards and supporting equal rights.
However, she said that during the years of austerity, ground was lost and trust eroded.
"The problems currently facing communities in Dublin around housing, childcare, poverty and precarious work are echoed in cities across Europe."
She said collective solutions are needed and responding to these challenges will require "imagination and investment".
Ms Higgins said: "The next chapter for Europe must be written by its people, including the people of Dublin, I will be asking them to elect me as an energetic, informed and determined advocate for and with them."
Ms Higgins said she has never tried to use the connection with her father in her own political career.
She also said: "I don’t think it would be appropriate for him to endorse any candidate.
"Anybody who has seen me in politics knows that I’ve never used or sought to use that connection.
"It’s never been part of any of my platform or any of my materials."
She added: "I really have respected the separation of powers and I think I’ve proven that in my work in the Seanad over the last few years."
Ms Higgins said that growing up in an "activist household" has been of benefit to her, saying: "I’ve seen what people can do if they’re working together.
"For me the greatest boost is it has given me that sense of the solidarities we need, the fact that sometimes change seems impossible and you might be out on your own on it but that it does happen and it does come.
"I think being part of campaigns from an early age, yes that’s given me a sense of if you work, if you push the ideas, if you forge the connections and you put new ideas out there, that you can gather momentum."
She listed campaigns she has worked on including Repeal, Marriage Equality and the successful divorce referendum in the mid-1990s.