Wex­ford seals deal

Wex­ford coun­cil­lors have voted to back af­ter three of those seek­ing to join the race for the Áras set out their stall be­fore a spe­cial coun­cil meet­ing. re­ports

New Ross Standard - - NEWS -

WEX­FORD COUNTY Coun­cil sealed the deal for busi­ness­man Sean Gal­lagher yes­ter­day (Mon­day) to run in this year’s Pres­i­den­tial Elec­tion when they be­came the fourth coun­cil to back the run­ner-up of the 2011 cam­paign.

Two can­di­dates had al­ready re­ceived back­ing from coun­cil­lors be­fore set­ting out their stall in the coun­cil cham­ber last week – Sean Gal­lagher was promised a pro­posal by In­de­pen­dent coun­cil­lor Ger Carthy, while Sen­a­tor Joan Free­man had se­cured support from Fine Gael’s Cllr Paddy Ka­vanagh.

On Mon­day af­ter­noon, Mr Gal­lagher se­cured 16 votes, with Ms Free­man re­ceiv­ing ten votes. There were five ab­sten­tions from the vote. Fianna Fáil and a num­ber of In­de­pen­dent coun­cil­lors cast their vote in favour of Mr Gal­lagher, while Fine Gael sup­ported Ms Free­man.

Mr Gal­lagher was not present at Mon­day’s meet­ing but his pro­poser Cllr Ger Carthy, speak­ing on the can­di­date’s be­half, thanked both those who had voted for him and those who had, say­ing he was look­ing for­ward to the Pres­i­den­tial race and ‘ let­ting the games be­gin’.

Last Wed­nes­day, three can­di­dates set out their cam­paign, seek­ing a nom­i­na­tion for the Pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

Sen Free­man was first to speak and she used her time to pro­mote the im­por­tance of pos­i­tive men­tal health, point­ing out that all of the wider prob­lems that af­fected Ire­land stemmed back to this one is­sue.

Sen Free­man, who is a trained psy­chol­o­gist and the founder and former CEO of Pi­eta House, said she had been cam­paign­ing for men­tal health ser­vices since she was 17 and pointed out one par­tic­u­lar case of a child who had spent 41 days in the adult psy­chi­atric unit (nick­named ‘ The Dun­geon’) of Water­ford Re­gional Hos­pi­tal and say­ing that this was not ac­cept­able. She also re­ferred to the on­go­ing cri­sis in Wex­ford’s men­tal health ser­vice for ado­les­cants.

While she ac­knowl­edged that the Pres­i­dent had no ex­ec­u­tive pow­ers, she be­lieved they had the power of per­sua­sion and in­flu­ence.

She re­marked to the coun­cil­lors: ‘ You have lis­tened to me. You’ve vol­un­teered and do­nated. You’ve shown com­pas­sion but com­pas­sion is a crowded place – we all care but it’s time to do some­thing. Peo­ple can say that I’m a one trick pony but that ‘ trick’ is a mas­sive is­sue.’

Cllr Michael Shee­han asked if there was any cir­cum­stance whereby she would refuse to sign a bill into law.

She replied: ‘If the bill was re­pug­nant to the Con­sti­tu­tion of this coun­try. I voted no in the lat­est ref­er­en­dum but I would not refuse to sign the bill into law. My per­sonal be­liefs do not fil­ter into my job.’

She be­lieved that change could be af­fected through peo­ple power adding that if she was Pres­i­dent she would not have to wait two years for leg­is­la­tion to pass as draw­ing at­ten­tion to is­sues and prob­lems was of­ten key to start­ing a di­a­logue on them.

In re­la­tion to the pro­posed visit of US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, she said she would wel­come him to Ire­land and ex­plain that Pi­eta House had two linked or­gan­i­sa­tions in New York. She be­lieved the role of Pres­i­dent was about in­flu­enc­ing, per­suad­ing and en­gag­ing with peo­ple.

PEO­PLE CAN SAY THAT I’M A ONE TRICK PONY BUT THAT ‘TRICK’ IS A MAS­SIVE IS­SUE

En­tre­pre­neur Sean Gal­lagher used his time to speak not just about his cur­rent bid to be­come Pres­i­dent but also his last one in 2011.

Re­fer­ring to the ‘false tweet’ that de­railed his cam­paign in 2011 on the RTE Front Line de­bate, he said he had re­sponded to an ac­cu­sa­tion of col­lect­ing money from a man’s house ear­lier in the pro­gramme and to an­other na­tional news­pa­per. He said the tweet had ‘caused me to doubt my own mem­ory mo­men­tar­ily’.

He said was aware that many peo­ple had planned to vote for him but sub­se­quently changed their mind and he re­gret­ted that peo­ple had seen him as some­one he was not. He said he had taken his case against RTE not just for him­self but for all those who were brave enough to stand for pub­lic of­fice and who de­served fair­ness.

Of his cur­rent cam­paign, he stressed that he did not want to be Michael D. Hig­gins’ re­place­ment but his suc­ces­sor. He said the coun­try was see­ing rapid change which lead to fear which lead to paral­y­sis. He wanted to lead by ex­am­ple and by serv­ing, and make sure that Ire­land was seen as a place that was open and in­clu­sive.

He be­lived that ap­a­thy would hold the coun­try back as peo­ple had be­come dis­en­gaged from the coun­try’s prob­lems but he be­lieved that every­one needed to work to­gether and that more lead­ers were needed for peo­ple to look up to.

Pres­i­den­tial hope­ful Sean Gal­lagher with Cllr Ger Carthy who pledged to nom­i­nate him.

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