Independents have vital voice in campaign for Presidency

In a ‘republic of opportunity’, independent candidates should be able to take part in the election more easily, writes Fidelma Healy Eames


Pádraig O Céidigh. Photo: Tom Burke
Pádraig O Céidigh. Photo: Tom Burke

Something was beginning to feel curious about the manner in which the presidential campaign was panning out with all the main parties coming out behind President Michael D Higgins for a second term. The presidency is, after all, the third arm of the Oireachtas, the parliament of our Republic.

It was looking like a real political stitch-up. I was wondering whether we were living in a democracy at all. Mary Lou changed that dynamic by announcing that Sinn Fein would field a candidate. At least then we knew there would be a presidential election. But that still leaves all of the prospective Independent candidates with the difficulty of getting a nomination.

Given that Michael D is a shoo-in, who cares, you might ask, about whether Independents are nominated or not? Hardly those who are homeless, trying to buy a house or on a health waiting list. That is where we may be wrong. Unless we have debate with multiple voices and points of view in the public forum, issues do not get aired, prioritised. Issues that affect people’s lives in a real way every day.

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