herald

Saturday 18 August 2018

We need a president who speaks the language of enterprise

Nobody said it would be easy. But I have never shied away from a challenge. And I believe I have a capacity for hard work, energy and the life experiences which can be utilised in the highest office in the land.

I am continuing my task of securing the necessary nominations of councils around the country to permit my name to go on the ballot paper for President.

Herald readers know the current nominating system is out of date but we have to work within the parameters laid down. But we need change. And I hope that changes will be made to make access to the Presidential ballot paper less restrictive and time consuming in the future.

I believe the President has a vital role to play in the lifeblood of our people. But the office must remain relevant and real.



Bridges

Both Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese were Presidents relevant to their time.

President Robinson put inclusion and humanitarianism at the centre of her period in office. Mary McAleese built bridges to the North and both she and her husband Martin played a vital role in the peace process.

Time after time, during my listening tour of the country, the message is loud and clear that at a time of crisis we need all hands on deck to turn this country around.

Emigration and unemployment are eating away at the very fabric of our society.

This is the key challenge of today. And one we must all work together to overcome. I believe we need to change the conversation in this country and work from the bottom up to help each other and rebuild this country, community by community.



REAL

I want my experience as a businessman and entrepreneur to be put to use for Ireland. We need to elect someone from outside of politics who has experience of the real world Herald readers inhabit.

Since leaving secondary school in 1980, I have worked as a farmer, community worker, disability campaigner, enterprise mentor and developed my own technology business which employed almost 90 people at one stage.

I have also lost my job on three occasions and understand how isolated people become when cut adrift from their work and, more crucially, their support network of colleagues and friends.

Recently, I met with a group of about 80 unemployed people in Tallaght who were trying to rebuild their careers. They had come together to help one another.

Each and every one of them had skills and talents that at present are lost to this economy but can easily be utilised again. And I know they will because I could see the resolve in their eyes.

The meeting took place at Tallaght Stadium. The following evening Shamrock Rovers were playing Serbian giants Partizan Belgrade. I don't have to remind Herald readers how that dream became reality.

Like Rovers, we need to instil belief in ourselves, our communities and our country. We can and we will succeed.

Now, more than ever, we need our President to be available to drive inward investment, champion our food, crafts and iconic industries and promote tourism.



Credible

We need the President to speak the language of enterprise and innovation and be a credible voice for communities and disadvantaged groups throughout the country.

I believe I have that voice. I know I have the energy and the motivation.

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