So much has changed in Ireland but my belief in our future has never been stronger. Trish and I have two beautiful children, Bobby and Lucy. As a parent, I want to use my energy and experience to help create a society where every citizen has the opportunity to reach their full potential. Where we celebrate difference, nurture uniqueness and foster community.
In focusing on our strengths, my vision for Ireland is guided by the values I’ve led all my life, from growing up in a small town in Cavan to raising a family.
We’ve always been strongest when working as one. I know this vision can only be achieved through us working together which is why I’m asking for your support in shaping Ireland’s future.
Pride Abroad: Ireland & The World
Since the foundation of the state, a tradition of selfless service to our country has been established in our Defence Forces. It is this tradition that has garnered 60 years of unbroken service to the UN and allowed our troops to help so many communities realise the hope of a better day.
In my Constitutional role as Commander-in-Chief, my first international visit as President, if feasible, will involve a visit to our peacekeepers in one of the countries where they have been deployed. The purpose of this visit will be to recognise their role in making Ireland a beacon of light for peace and justice in the world. In representing Ireland in the world, I will promote human rights, respect, and peace, knowing the sacrifices that our Defense Forces, their partners and families make every day so that others may know the meaning of these values.
Promoting Ability Over Disability
My life has been defined by focusing not on limitations but on what is achievable. I grew up with a visual impairment but one of my teacher’s in school in Cavan advised me to focus on what I could achieve and not on that which I couldn’t. This advice has helped me become who I am today.
Many world leaders have expressed admiration for Ireland as a model for economics, culture and business. My hope is that in 7 years’ time, we will lead the way as a nation that nurtures the skills and talents of all her people, especially those in the margins.
Leading by Example – Responsibility and Transparency
I believe that the office of President belongs to the people of Ireland. As the elected Head of State, I would acknowledge the responsibility to lead by example in setting benchmarks for transparency and the appropriate use of public funds.
If elected President, I intend to make use of our global footprint of Embassies to minimise accommodation costs and better utilise taxpayer funds. I will also continue to submit an annual return to the Standards in Public Office as while it is not legally required, I believe that doing this is in the interests of transparency and befitting the office of President.
I also believe that we have a responsibility to leave our planet better than we found it. The effects of climate change can be seen in our hotter summers and severe winters. Only we have the ability to mitigate the impact of this real issue. I believe that the office of President should lead by example which is why I will commit to making the Office of President carbon-neutral by 2021. I will also support innovative community ideas across the country that help reduce our Carbon Footprint. We only have one planet so let’s look after it together.
A United Island
Having spent most of my life in the border counties I understand the need for a peaceful, tolerant, united Ireland. Thankfully, so much has changed since then. In looking to the future, I believe we will see a United Ireland in my lifetime, but a United Ireland is about much more than uniting territory, it is about uniting people and communities. The strongest communities are formed when through dialogue, people find more similarities than there are differences.
As President, I will initiate a journey that facilitates respecting difference and building trust among individuals and their communities. To achieve this, I will work with cross border organisations to build relationships that allow us to understand our unique identity, celebrate what brings us together and contribute towards creating a united people in a united island.
Get Active with the President
I am passionate about health and wellness because I believe that being active is key to our happiness, health and mental well being. I want to encourage all citizens to get active and promote healthy living no matter their ability. This is why, if elected, I will host a monthly event where everyone, regardless of fitness level, can join the President for a walk or run in the Phoenix Park. By doing this, we stay active, stay healthy and stay connected on the issues that matter to you.
Learn with the President- Foghlaim Leis an Uachtarán
Since the foundation of the State, the Irish language has been a huge part of who we are and our unique identity.
I take pride in the status of the Irish language and am committed to furthering my proficiency as President. In doing so, I want to invite every citizen, regardless of nationality or proficiency level, to join me on this learning journey so we can spread the growth of the Irish language together.
I want to celebrate the abilities of all our people and this starts with changing the perceptions of people with disabilities. If elected, I will launch Promoting Ability, a year-long initiative in the area of Disability.
This will be launched on 3rd December 2018, to coincide with International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The initiative will focus on the almost 900,000 people across the island of Ireland with a disability, their carers and their families. We will nurture their uniqueness, promote opportunities for inclusivity, employment and ensure everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Putting Women at the Heart of Politics
My life has been shaped by countless inspirational women, my mother Ann, my wife Trish and my daughter Lucy to name but a few. On 2nd April 2019, 100 years to the day Countess Markievicz was appointed our first female Minister, I will convene an all-island gathering of past and present female elected representatives to mark the contribution of Countess Markievicz and their role in continuing her legacy.
This summit at Áras an Uachtaráin will also bring together the next generation of female leaders and in doing so, we can be confident that our future is bright and truly representative of the nation we have become.