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Ní Riada at the launch of her campaign today. Tom Honan/PA Images
Race for the Áras

Liadh Ní Riada promises to bring 'enthusiasm, energy and commitment' if elected president

The announcement was made after the party’s ard chomhairle met in Dublin today.

LAST UPDATE | 16 Sep 2018

SINN FÉIN’S LIADH Ní Riada has said that she will bring “enthusiasm, energy and commitment” to the presidency should be elected in six week’s time.

The Ireland South MEP was finally confirmed as Sinn Féin’s candidate for the highest office in the State today after a meeting of her party’s Ard Comhairle. 

Ní Riada said that she gave the matter “deep thought and consideration” before accepting what she described as the “special honour” of her party’s nomination. 

The MEP said that she has “a deep appreciation of Ireland’s unique identity and culture” and said that she “had faced personal challenges and hardship” during her life. 

Ní Riada is the youngest daughter of musician Seán Ó Riada and today she spoke about losing both her father and mother. 

“As someone who lost both parents at a young age, I have faced personal challenges and hardship. Myself and my siblings raised each other. This has given me a strong sense of independence and an empathy for those who are struggling,” she said. 

Ní Riada’s campaign was launched at the headquarters of the Communication Workers Union in near Croke Park this afternoon, but the candidate did not take questions from the media following her speech. 

Irish presidential election Mary Lou McDonald and Liadh Ní Riada on their way to watch their respective counties in Croke Park. Tom Honan / PA Images Tom Honan / PA Images / PA Images

Instead she outlined what she said would be her priorities if elected, saying she would be “a custodian of the Constitution”.

“I will be courageous in the defence of democracy, the national interest, as well as Ireland’s sovereignty and neutrality,” she said.

Uachtarán na hÉireann should have the integrity to represent all that is good in the instincts of the Irish people. This may be in highlighting existential threats – such as climate change or the alarming rise of the Far Right across the world. It may be drawing attention to the reality that refugees, from wherever they come, are our fellow human beings in need of protection.

“I will be a voice for a caring Ireland. A fair Ireland. An Ireland where every child has a home. An Ireland that leaves no one behind,” she added. 

Ní Riada said as president she would, “initiate an inclusive citizens conversation on a future united Ireland.”

“I will be a positive voice for Irish unity, leading by example and demonstrating the outreach and inclusivity that is needed to bring the people of this island together,” she promised.

If I am president, Áras an Uachtaráin will be a welcoming house for all. A process of national reconciliation is central to any genuine effort to unite the people of Ireland. And, if elected, reconciliation will be a theme of my presidency.

20180916_140527 Liadh Ní Riada among her party's leadership at today's campaign launch.

Ní Riada said that “Ireland needs an energetic president to support and encourage this journey” and she promised to deliver that.

President Michael D Higgins, who is entitled to nominate himself, has indicated he will run again in the 26 October election.

To get on the presidential ballot paper, a candidate needs the backing of at least four councils or 20 members of the Oireachtas. 

Pieta House founder Joan Freeman and businessmen Sean Gallagher and Gavin Duffy have both secured nominations through the council route.

Sinn Féin’s 29 Oireachtas members gurantees that Ní Riada will also contest the election.

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