JOURNALIST GEMMA O’DOHERTY has announced that she will seek a nomination for the upcoming presidential election.
O’Doherty posted on social media to say that it is not a decision she has come to lightly ”but I believe the country and the people are ready for change”.
In a statement on Facebook, she said it was time for Irish people to come together and demand change.
“We owe it to ourselves, to our children, to our country’s reputation, and to our forebearers who had a very different vision for this beautiful island that is our home. The time has come to demand a new Ireland.
“As an Irish woman who loves her country to its core but hardly recognises it any more, I am deeply concerned about the unimaginable suffering and chaos so many of our people are subjected to daily.
“I despair for Ireland and what it has become. Like many of you, I am frustrated that we keep allowing the same mistakes to happen over and over again,” she said.
O’Doherty joins Gavin Duffy, Senator Joan Freeman, Kevin Sharkey and ex-Aer Lingus employee Patrick Feeney who have already begun canvassing for a nomination.
To get on the ballot, a person must have the support of four local authorities or 20 members of the Oireachtas.
O’Doherty asked people who want her to serve “to contact TDs and Senators and ask them to support my nomination on your behalf”.
The freelance journalist said that among many things her presidency would shine a light on the needs of citizens whose healthcare rights are being neglected and stand in the corner of those who get up early in the morning and “do not get home until dark because they are enslaved to odious debt they should never have been forced to take on in the first place”.
“If the Government refuses to show compassion for citizens in need, the Presidency can and will. We must also do everything to challenge our narcissistic society which is the cause of so many of our ills.”
O’Doherty ruled out the idea that she would run for Dáíl Éireann instead as she does not “believe our parliament in its current form is able to work for the good of the people”.
“I understand those who say the Irish president is tethered, gagged, unable to speak out on matters of national interest and public concern or hold government to account.
“But that is only because some incumbents have chosen to interpret the position in that way.”
O’Doherty concluded her statement by saying that the overriding remedy to fix Ireland is to tackle “the greed and corruption of the tiny elite who continue to destroy it for the majority”.
“As our country embarks on a new one hundred years, we can turn that dream into a reality so that generations to come will look back and say we were the ones who stood up and demanded change. It starts here today.”
O’Doherty was formerly a chief features writer with The Irish Independent and has contributed to The Sunday Times, Daily Mail and Village Magazine. In 2013, she was made compulsorily redundant by The Irish Independent. O’Doherty wrote an article about the then-garda commissioner Martin Callinan having penalty points wiped from his licence.
She had a Pulse file to that effect in her possession, but to make sure that he was the same person, she went to visit his home. O’Doherty was dismissed from her job at Independent News and Media shortly afterwards, and later settled a suit for wrongful dismissal.
Commissioner Martin Callinan admitted that a fixed penalty notice was written off after he had been caught breaking the speed limit by a traffic camera in 2007.
However, he said he was on duty when the incident occurred, which under legislation exempts gardaí from speed limits.
She has also recently given evidence at the Disclosures Tribunal.
O’Doherty has a considerable social media following, with over 21,000 followers on Twitter and over 11,000 followers on Facebook.