Wednesday 14 November 2018

Presidential hopeful Freeman leaves door open for another Áras run if she's unsuccessful this week

Candidate: Joan Freeman. Photo: INM
Candidate: Joan Freeman. Photo: INM
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Presidential hopeful Senator Joan Freeman has left the door open for a second run for Áras an Uachtaráin in the future if she's unsuccessful this time around.

Meanwhile, she denied she is disheartened by polls showing incumbent Michael D Higgins on course for a landslide victory, pointing out that the race could "change dramatically" in the coming days.

Ms Freeman, who founded suicide prevention charity Pieta House, said she'd "certainly think about it" when asked if she'd consider another bid for the presidency if she doesn't get elected this week.

She said she's been "so honoured and privileged" to have her name on the ballot paper and to meet people around the country during the campaign.

Joan Freeman and husband Patrick. Photo: Arthur Carron
Joan Freeman and husband Patrick. Photo: Arthur Carron

"I’ve fallen in love with Ireland because of the people," she said.

"They so want to make things better for their community and I want to do it for them as well. I want to lead them in that."

Line up: The Presidential candidates with Pat Kenny (centre) for the TV debate on Wednesday. Photo: Brian McEvoy
Line up: The Presidential candidates with Pat Kenny (centre) for the TV debate on Wednesday. Photo: Brian McEvoy

The RedC/Sunday Business Post poll published at the weekend put Mr Higgins on 68pc - that's 56 points ahead of closest rival, businessman and former Dragons' Den star Seán Gallagher.

Ms Freeman's support was at 6pc.

She said she's focused on highlighting her message of supporting mental health and wellbeing and building stronger communities in the closing days of the campaign.

She questioned how much polls measure the "true facts that are on the ground" and added: "We all know that things could change dramatically in the next few days."

Ms Freeman said she's "so proud" of her daughter Aislinne for revealing she's in a same-sex relationship as she rebuffed claims her mother is a right-wing conservative with links to the Iona Institute.

Aislinne Freeman spoke of her relationship with her partner, Australian Marieke Altena, and how her mother is "100pc supportive off us as a couple".

She said she pleaded with her mother to publicly reveal her relationship with Marieke in the context of the Iona Institute claims and decided to do it herself.

Senator Freeman said today; "I feel bad for her that she felt like she had to do that.

"But she was so frustrated watching me for months denying anything to do with Iona. I’m not a member of Iona but nobody would believe that.

"And she felt that she had to speak about it yesterday.

"But I’m so proud of her. I wish she didn’t have to do that. I’m sorry that she did. But I’m so proud of her because she was willing to tell the world about herself in order to save me."

She said her family have been "incredible" during the campaign and "just want everything to be the best for me".

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