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Senator Joan Freeman secures backing of Cork City Council for Presidential bid

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Senator Joan Freeman. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Senator Joan Freeman. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Senator Joan Freeman. Photo: Gerry Mooney

CORK City Council dramatically voted to nominate mental health campaigner Senator Joan Freeman for the Presidential election.

Sen Freeman must now be formally ratified as the council's nominated candidate at a meeting on September 10.

She becomes the second candidate to secure the nomination of a local authority after businessman Gavin Duffy was nominated by Meath Co Council.

The decision came after six candidates addressed a special Cork City Hall meeting from 7pm in a bid to secure a nomination for the October 26 ballot.

The Pieta House founder received the backing of 14 councillors after the council decided by ballot to nominate a candidate.

Political pundits dubbed it 'Super Monday' because of the number of councils holding special briefing meetings for Presidential hopefuls.

A number of hopefuls had addressed councils in Cork, Kerry, Wicklow and Leitrim in a bid to secure the support necessary to get on the October 26 ballot paper.

President Michael D Higgins is seeking a second term while Sinn Féin will run a yet-to-be-named candidate.

Businessman Sean Gallagher is also hopeful of securing support from councils in the midlands and north-west to secure another bid for the Aras.

Cork City Council heard submissions from Mr Duffy, journalist Gemma O'Doherty, actress Sarah-Louise Mulligan, Senator Freeman, Roscommon farmer John Groarke as well as musician and lecturer, James Smyth,

Mr Duffy said he would offer a different, more dynamic type of Presidency to Michael D Higgins.

Ms Mulligan said US President Donald Trump "speaks his mind" and his directness was something many people admired.

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Sen Freeman said Cork had a place close to her heart because of the tremendous support shown locally for the Pieta House mental health awareness event, 'Darkness into Light'.

She said she would use the office of President to dramatically revamp Ireland's entire approach to mental health.

Sen Freeman also said the President could offer personal support and encouragement to people by visits to hospitals etc.

Mr Groarke took issue with the demands placed on candidates just to secure a slot on the Presidential ballot paper.

He said Ireland was not the Republic he had believed it to be.

Ms Doherty said she wanted to use the Presidency to highlight corruption, social disadvantage and elites within Irish society.

"I believe that the Irish people are greatly concerned about the toxic culture of corruption and cronyism that has infested our state," she said.

"There is also huge concern at the way their taxes are being squandered by this Government on a daily basis."

Mr Smyth said he was very concerned that some Government departments now refer to people as "customers" rather than "citizens."

He warned that, despite Government claims about a growing economy and increasing wealth, a lot of ordinary Irish people still find themselves struggling on a daily basis.


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