I'm backing Gay Mitchell for president -- Lucinda
LUCINDA Creighton became the first Government minister to declare her support for a potential presidential candidate today.
Her backing for Gay Mitchell overshadowed the announcement by Pat Cox at a Dublin press conference that he is also seeking the Fine Gael nomination.
Three candidates are now vying to be chosen as the Fine Gael candidate at a convention on July 9: Gay Mitchell, Pat Cox and Mairead McGuinness.
"I have been talking to Gay Mitchell over the last couple of weeks," the Minister of State for European Affairs exclusively told the Herald today. "He is a good friend of mine."
The TD explained that Pat Cox was someone with exemplary experience who "had a lot of things going for him", as did Mairead McGuinness, but she believed Gay Mitchell was the best choice for repairing Ireland's reputation internationally and building alliances.
Mr Mitchell's electoral track record in Dublin spoke for itself and last night a packed constituency meeting of Dublin South East Fine Gael unanimously supported Mr Mitchell after a motion from the floor, Ms Creighton said.
She pointed to Mr Mitchell's record in the Oireachtas and said that while many politicians were elected on the basis of constituency work, he had worked on Oireachtas Committees such as Health, building alliances with others.
"I have worked closely with him since he was elected an MEP in 2004," she said.
"He has also been extremely involved in human rights issues and development aid, areas which other presidents like Mary Robinson have been involved in," she said.
There was also the international dimension with Mr Mitchell fully engaged as a parliamentarian and closely involved with issues in which he had shown empathy and understanding, she said.
She believed that Mr Mitchell is "the person for the job" of president.