Presidential election enters Twilight Zone



The enthusiastic presidential hopeful people are promising, from railways to serving ministers from their P45s to dressing up as Hollywood icons to entertain foreign dignitaries.

We have entered the presidential twilight zone where challengers from the incumbent Michael D Higgins even want to hand over the office of the president to the deceased for a day when they are elected. No joke.

With just under eight weeks before voters decide who will live in Uras an Uachtaráin until 2025, the race for the presidency has become nonsensical in some ways. In other countries, the mixed bag that seeks the highest office in the country brings an eclectic series of issues that can be discussed in the coming weeks.

A farmer, journalists, an impersonator of celebrities, businessmen, senators, an artist and a retired pilot of the airline belong to the runners and riders who compete for elections.

Indeed, it is akin to a large national and there are plenty of fences to overcome … and that is even before the race starts well.

There are currently an estimated 13 potential candidates in the field, except for the incumbent. In contrast to the last race in 2011 where the candidates supported by the parties scored strongly, this time the participants are mainly independent and come from a diverse background, to say the least.

However, it is their promises to voters who raise their eyebrows: musician Jimmy Smyth says he would dismiss ministers; ex-airline employee Patrick Feeney wants a Luas railway for Galway; and burlesque dancer and & # 39; CEO & # 39; from the website IrishWhoLovePresidentTrump.com Sarah Louise Mulligan is willing to dress up as Marilyn Monroe when Trump comes to Ireland.

All well and good, but none of them has anything to do with the presidency or, indeed, the powers of the office.

The constitution is very clear. The power of the president is limited, some say, almost to ceremonial roles. He or she acts as a representative of the state and as guardian of the constitution, but with a largely non-executive role.

The position is above politics.

The President may raise issues of national importance and even have the power to attend or convene a meeting of the Dáil or Seanad during an emergency. Both options have not been tested. Such movements, however, require the approval of the government of the day.

Legislation must also be signed by the president before he becomes law. A president can refer a bill to the Supreme Court, on the basis of article 26.

Nevertheless, Presiednt Higgins has not yet taken any account during his nearly seven years so far.

Potential candidate Gemma O & # 39; Doherty says she flatly refuses to sign certain legislation, an assertion that constitutional lawyers do not fall under the authority of the president. While a president can refer to bills, they can not simply abstain from a new law.

Such an intervention can only take place if an act is unconstitutional.

Nevertheless, this procedure is rarely used. Since the establishment of the Constitution in 1937, there have been an estimated 15 such references, the last under Mary McAleese.

President Higgins used his term to highlight matters such as housing, the migration crisis and gambling addiction. This shows that the role, although it does not intersect the government, can be used to debate and raise important issues. This is probably the most power the President possesses: the power to bring concerns to the attention in a non-political manner.

In addition, the Taoiseach must keep the president informed of matters of domestic and international policy. This strengthens their role as guardian of our legislative process and as a chief ambassador of foreign countries. These are mainly the jobs of the first citizen of the country.

Certainly, despite the fact that three Dragons & Den stars and businessmen are now running to the Park, the role of the president is generally not to communicate with companies and companies, to promote jobs or economic decisions. Such claims will be quickly brought to bed during this campaign and more likely than not by the incumbent itself.

It is indeed worth noting that stars have not always been given a function or political role here. Although we may have had sports figures such as Jack Lynch as Taoiseach and Dick Spring as a player, others were not so good in recent times, such as singer Dana as president.

It remains to be seen whether the electorate will go for television or celebrity status. Anyway, the winner can not promise the sun, the moon and the stars.

Gallagher plant initiative for disabilities

Presidential hopeful Sean Gallagher will today promise to launch a special initiative to improve the involvement of people with disabilities in public and private sector jobs.

The Dragons die, who had serious vision problems when he was younger, will promise that persons with disabilities will overshadow him or officials in Áras an Uachtaráin several times a year if he is elected.

Mr Gallagher will also address the important role of the armed forces, particularly in the area of ​​overseas peacekeeping.

Mr Gallagher joins today with other hopeful candidates looking for nominations at the Leitrim County Council.

Several authorities, including Cork City, are also expected to hear from potential candidates.

Speaking yesterday about Dublin City FM, Fianna Fáil TD John Curran said that Mr. Gallagher would be a good president. This is despite the fact that the parliamentary party agrees to support the incumbent Michael D Higgins.

I think he would [do a good job]"Said Mr. Curran." I think the last campaign taught him a lot, that he had such an experience, that he was so close and that the campaign came to rest. The fact that he has come back now, I think he would have observed what Michael D did. I think Michael D was an excellent president.

"I think Sean Gallagher would not go light on this race."

Independent senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh has to decide whether he will participate in the race this week. He told the Irish examiner that he expected him to support 20 Oireachtas members if he decided to flee.

Michael D Higgins

With the support of two-thirds of people in polls and winning more than a million votes in the presidential election of 2011, the former Labor TD and Minister of Culture has taken a comfortable position during the race. This is the danger for the incumbent operator. It is his presidency to lose.

The resident of Galway, Mr. Higgins, is passionate about art, history, human rights and the migration crisis.

Married to Sabina, the father of four who has previously taught in Galway and also speaks Irish and Spanish.

He is the first incumbent president to undergo a re-election contest since Éamon de Valera in 1966.

Sean Gallagher

Businessman and star of RTÉ & # 39; s Dragon & # 39; s Den, Gallagher, 56, contested the presidential race of 2011.

He refused to use traditional posters during his campaign and was on the verge of victory a disastrous debate about TV, in which he was accused of raising funds for Fianna Fáil. He finished in second place and later received compensation from RTÉ for a fake tweet that was read during the debate.

Has talked about running an open, transparent campaign, but has refused to talk to the media and has not held a press conference to announce his bid this time.

He has been married to Trish since 2010, his second wife.

Joan Freeman

Freeman is the founder of Pieta House, the suicide charity. She was appointed a member of the Seanad in 2016 by former Taoiseach Enda Kenny and is chairman of the Committee for Mental Health.

At the age of 60, she opposed the recent proposal to liberalize the country's abortion legislation and was strongly linked to the campaign No.

She has since said that she would like to sign the new bill that legalized abortion in the law as president.

She is the sister of broadcaster Theresa Lowe and aunt of leading No campaigner Maria Steen of the Iona Institute.

She is married to Pat and a mother with four adult children.

Kevin Sharkey

Age 57, Sharkey is an internationally known artist and political activist.

After having endured an abusive childhood in Donegal, he discovered and developed his passion for art.

In September 2013, Sharkey joined Sinn Féin, referring to an affection for Mary Lou McDonald, but he left the party in the midst of the accident with former leader Gerry Adams.

In 2016, Sharkey revealed that he had been homeless for months after he became the victim of the housing crisis in Ireland.

Sharkey said he had lived in sheltered accommodation in the center of Dublin for the past two months, unable to find a place he could afford.

Pádraig Ó Céidigh

The 61-year-old aviation boss who became an independent senator is a respected person in both politics and business.

Born in 1957 in Conemara, he was appointed a member of the Seanad former Taoiseach Enda Kenny in 2016, after he had unsuccessfully challenged one of the seats of the National University of Ireland in the Seanad.

He attended NUI Galway before he had a career in accounting, teaching and as a lawyer. He also served on the board of RTÉ.

Ó Céidigh has said that he wants the medical records of all candidates to be released, seen as an attack on Michael D Higgins. He is married to Caitlin and has four children.

Patrick Feeney

As a retired Aer Lingus employee, Feeney stood unsuccessfully as an independent candidate at the 2016 general election in the constituency Galway West.

However, securing only 22 first preferential votes, he was eliminated on the first count.

He belonged to the group of candidate candidates who presented to Waterford City and County Council to secure their nomination to walk.

He told council members that he "wanted to challenge the status quo".

Feeney is also an Irish native speaker.

Gavin Duffy

Businessman Gavin Duffy was the first Dragons & # 39; Den-star to look for a nomination. He believes there is room for it

go on the ballot with fellow Dragon & # 39 ;, Sean Gallagher.

Duffy even retorted his home to finance his campaign.

The Drogheda native has addressed five councils.

The 58-year-old is the former owner of HRM, a large recruitment company. He previously ran LMFM radio, which was sold to UTV.

The entrepreneur has coached taoisigh and businessmen, among whom Denis O & # 39; Brien. He wants to give priority to young people and the elderly.

Liadh Ní Riada

Sinn Féin has committed herself to a candidate. It is just a matter of who. Munster MEP Liadh Ní Riada and Belfast lawyer John Finucane are the names that are mentioned, with Ní Riada the hot favorite.

Sinn Féin & ard comhairle will decide on a candidate by the end of this month, allowing the individual to escape control before the race runs at full speed.

The late Martin McGuinness won more than 240,000 first-preference votes or nearly 14% in 2011, and finished third.

Ní Riida, if chosen, could shake the field, which until now was dominated by men. Her cultural and Irish background will stand out.

Gemma O & # 39; Doherty

The journalist has campaigned for high-profile stories, including on justice, garda and media issues.

Previously at the Irish Independent, she has contributed to Village Magazine and she has written about cases such as the disappearance of Mary Boyle, 6, in 1977.

She says that a remedy to repair Ireland is to "address the greed and corruption of the small elite who continues to destroy it for the majority".

Ms. O & # 39; Doherty was falsely dismissed at the Irish Independent, having been with the newspaper for 16 years, and won a lawsuit and lawsuit against her former employer.

Jimmy Smyth

One of the promises of the musician, if elected, is to dismiss ministers who are not doing well. However striking it may sound to some, it is not a power enjoyed by the president.

The 60-year-old Navan man rejected Phil Lynott's offer to join Thin Lizzy. He also says that he "wants to stop the rot in this country" and has called on the support of an online petition on social media.

Nevertheless, he admits that his goal is not to win the elections, but to promote change in society.

The guitarist has received the support of jazz player Paddy Cole and musician Steve Wickham.

Sarah Louise Mulligan

Mulligan says she would welcome Donald Trump to Áras an Uachtaráin and if necessary, wear an outfit from Marilyn Monroe. She later claimed that this was a joke.

The 36-year-old founder of IrishWhoLovePresidentTrump.com has said that there are thousands of others in Ireland who share their views on Trump.

The burlesque performer and pro-life activist made the headlines in May when she debated live on TV in the run-up to the eighth amendment referendum with Amnesty International & # 39; s Colm O & # 39; Gorman.

Peter Casey

The US-based businessman is the founder and CEO of Claddagh Resources, the global recruitment company.

Casey, 60, is one of nine children from a Derry family. His recruitment agency, founded in Atlanta in the 1990s, has its base outside of Buncrana, Co. Donegal. He and his wife Helen have five children. Casey only spends a few weeks a year in Ireland. He failed to win a seat in the Seanad in 2016 after being nominated by employers' group Ibec.

The former & # 39; Dragon & # 39; says the € 250,000 salary for the president & # 39; bonkers & # 39; is. When he is chosen, he "activates" the diaspora and creates a birthright program.

John Groarke

An independent farmer from Co Roscommon, Groarke, is a non-established candidate.

He said that people "who work for these high positions are all very well paid, most of them, and that the rural residents of Ireland do not get a view of these jobs".

The bachelor, 58, from Tulsk, wants to reduce the € 30 million cost of running the office of president.

He said it is unfair that he should be nominated by four local authorities, unlike Michael D Higgins, who automatically gets back to work.

"He has privileges and in a republic there would be no privileges, every man is equal and every woman."

Marie Goretti Moylan

Moyland, a former civil servant and volunteer at Atlone, worked for the Education, Agriculture and Arts departments.

A music lover, she is a singer but also plays the tin flute and the small organ.

In her pitch to councilors, Moylan said that she will promote truth, justice, closure and charity for all citizens.

She said she wanted to be an ambassador for Ireland, but especially the Midlands.


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