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Presidential hopeful says death penalty appropriate for those who harm the elderly


Kevin Sharkey

Kevin Sharkey

Kevin Sharkey

Artist and presidential hopeful Kevin Sharkey has said he believed the death penalty would be an appropriate punishment for those who harm elderly people.

Discussing crime in rural Ireland Mr Sharkey said:

"I personally believe that the death penalty would be appropriate for anybody who harms an old person in their home. 

“I know we are not going to bring back the death penalty,” he said, speaking about the terror and trauma faced by elderly people who are attacked in their homes, many of whom don’t return.

“I don’t think there’s too stiff a punishment for those kinds of people who commit those kinds of crimes,” he said. 

Earlier Senator Joan Freeman said she does not believe Michael D Higgins’ age is a factor in his ability to do the job.

When asked about the incumbents age, she described the current president as a “very capable man”.

“I do not agree with ageism,” she said, paying tribute to the performance of Mr Higgins over the past seven years. She said he has fulfilled the role with dignity which was what the country needed.

However, she said she is challenging him because Ireland is very different today and she believes she can represent what Ireland needs right now.

Ms Freeman also said she supports allowing the Irish diaspora to vote. 

She appealed to councillors to help her make it on to the ballot paper to give voters a “spectrum of choice”.

Ms Freeman was one of a number of hopefuls who are speaking before the council today.

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The council also heard from photographer and artist Marie Goretti Moylan, former Aer Lingus employee Patrick Feeney and journalist Gemma O’Doherty.

Ms O’Doherty told the chamber she wants to live in an Ireland where the government does its job and people’s taxes are respected.

Meanwhile, Mr Feeney spoke about the need to invest in rural Ireland.

Businessman Sean Gallagher has said he hopes the State broadcaster has learned lessons from his court challenge taken following the 2011 Frontline ‘Tweetgate’ incident. 

He said he hopes RTE will take on board the learnings of the last election this time around and that any candidate brave enough to stand is treated fairly. 

Mr Gallagher was speaking at a special meeting of Roscommon County Council where he has been proposed for a nomination by two councillors ahead of a meeting next Monday where the decision on who the council will back will be made. 

Asked if he had confidence in current affairs in RTE Mr Gallagher said internal review in RTE has led to many protocol changes at the broadcaster he said. 

“I hope that I’ve played my part in making sure that that takes place.. And that will unfold in the coming months,” he added. 

A Twitter account with a user name similar to that of the official Martin McGuinness campaign, but not linked to Mr McGuinness, said a man who claimed he had given a €5,000 cheque to Mr Gallagher would appear at a press conference the next day.

Prior to the row Mr Gallagher had been favourite to win the election. He has since sued RTÉ over 'Tweetgate' and received "substantial damages”.

“In that moment many viewers saw me as someone I am not and that pains me greatly,” he said.

The former Dragon’s Den investor also said he would look to be a successor and not a replacement for Michael D Higgins, and that he would look to carry on the incumbent’s legacy. 

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