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7 voters for 7 candidates

TheJournal.ie hears from voters why they are opting for each of the candidates in the Presidential election…

Image: Kyran O'Brien

ALTHOUGH THERE ARE still four weeks to go before the polls open on October 27, some people know exactly who they want as the next President of Ireland.

We asked seven of our readers who have already made up their mind on one of the candidates to explain their voting preferences.

Here’s what they had to say (in their own words):

Andrew Byrne, a 26-year-old Trinity graduate, on why he is voting for Mary Davis:

“Whoever is elected this month will be with us for at least seven years, so we need someone energetic and committed; someone who can encourage us to be a better nation and represent us with pride abroad. Mary Davis is the best fit with the job description. Through her work with Special Olympics she championed the rights of people with intellectual disabilities and in doing so she brought great pride to Ireland during the World Games in 2003 – something we really need today.

She understands the role and its responsibilities from her seven years on the Council of State. I’ve met Mary on the campaign and I’ve never met someone so genuine, warm and committed in Irish public life. Politics in Ireland can be divisive, but Mary is a President everyone can unite behind.”

Meath man Gordon Mitchell is a business owner supporting Seán Gallagher. Here, he explains why:

“Sean is sending out a clear and straight forward message. His focus is on jobs, enterprise and Community development and empowerment. Although the Presidents role in job creation may be restricted, it can still be a viable priority for the highest office in the land. I feel that at this current time, an enterprising, energetic and independent President is exactly what Ireland requires.

For me, Sean’s independent status is very attractive. The presidential campaign should not be hijacked by political parties with members on the ground. I strongly believe that party members are canvassing for their parties as opposed to their candidate. It is not about political parties. It is all about individuals who can empathise with the current feel and concerns of the nation. At the end of the day, it is the person elected and not the party who will represent our country for the next seven years.”

Mairéad Ní Chaoimh, a blogger from Galway, wants Michael D. Higgins in the Áras:

“His campaign is the most carefully deliberated of all the candidates. His ideas of inclusion, a ‘citizenship floor’, aiding a debate on a real Republic and capitalising on the nation’s creativity all hit the right note. Michael D, the man who needs no surname, is a national institution and has the trait that all the best leaders have: charisma.

He has a statesmanlike stature; he has vision. He has the skills to hold his own on the international stage, which is vital for a President.

His political track record- especially in the area of human rights campaigning and championing the arts is impressive.

Let’s put a poet in the Áras!”

Cork native Darren O’Keeffe has made up his mind and he would like to see Martin McGuinness as the next President of Ireland:

“I will be voting for Martin McGuinness because he represents a new direction, a change from the political philosophy that has lead our country to the brink of economic and social ruin. As President, the voice of Martin McGuinness would be one which stands up for those who are being marginalised and disenfranchised by the system. The office of President can foster political and social conversations, act as the political conscience of our country and ultimately be an institution in which the only vested interest is the well-being of the people.

Martin McGuinness would use the office in such a positive way. I believe the Irish people, unlike certain elements within the media, will judge Martin all on all aspects of his political life. It is a journey in which he has defended his people, helped to build a sustainable peace process and assumed the responsibility of governing in various capacities. Martin McGuinness, as President, would stand with the people against the enveloping tide of uncertainty.”

UCD faculty member Professor Ben Tonra has four simple reasons for giving Gay Mitchell the nod:

“In thinking about why I’m supporting Gay Mitchell in this election, four things come to mind. First, Gay is undoubtedly one of the hardest working politicians I have ever come across. Second, he is both passionate and principled about his politics – a rare enough commodity. Third, he’s serious about social justice and inclusion, something he’s profiled throughout his career in Dublin and in Europe and which is reflected in the work he’s done on overseas development issues and human rights. Finally, he has a great heart. It’s not worn on his sleeve, but it makes a real difference to how he works.”

David Norris is getting Abban Dunne’s number 1. Here’s why:

“David Norris is an honest and hard working man and what you see is what you get. Who can’t respect the openness and integrity of a politician who goes on Don’t Feed The Gondolas? I was thrilled when he announced he was going to run for president and like many other Irish people, dismayed when the media bullied him out. Personally, I’m giving him my number one because to me he represents the type of intellectual Ireland that we love to remember but are slowly losing.”

Keith Mills has a number of reasons why he’ll be voting for Dana Rosemary Scallon:

1. In 1997 she had the vision and drive to use the constitution to get on the ballot.

2. Right now, I think it is important not to have a President who is beholden to the government by being their nominee.

3. She has a strong sense of discretion and is unlikely to say or do anything that would embarrass the country. I have met her on a couple of occasions and found her to be a pleasant, charming person. She would be a President who can embrace everyone – not just those who agree with her.

4. Even as an agnostic, I respect the role that religious beliefs have played in the history of this country and the fact that the majority of the population still define themselves as Christians. I would far rather have someone who actually had a belief system and a moral compass as our Head of State than someone who either believed in nothing or paid lip service to a religion.

Play: Presidential Election Bingo

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