Professional surfer Fergal Smith has announced he is to contest the General Election as a candidate for the Green Party.
Mr Smith, who is running on an environmental platform with a focus on sustainability, will contest the election in the Clare constituency.
Born in Castlebar, Co Mayo, Mr Smith is one of the most influential surfers in Europe and has played a key role in fostering Ireland as a worldwide surfing destination.
In a statement, he said he was running in the election for his daughter “and all Irish children”.
“We all appreciate the major problems our children are going to have to deal with, but perhaps less apparent is that the solutions for them already exist,” he said.
“The next generation needs leaders who are not afraid to lead them into these changing times. My priority is the environment; without healthy soil nothing exists: trees, vegetables, grass, grazing animals and their produce.
“I am a professional surfer who has returned to the land to start a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm near Lahinch, as I believe wholehearted this offers the most realistic, scalable solution to the issues surrounding rural life in Ireland.”
He said his convictions in that regard had led him to offer himself as a Green Party candidate.
“Politics was never my intention, but there is a responsibility on us all to be part of the solution, and I will take every step, no matter how challenging, to implement solutions that will safeguard our children’s future,” he added.
His “key issues” include wanting to create jobs in the environment sector, encourage bio-diversity on farms, ensure there is sustainable heating in all homes, and ensure 97 per cent of all schools in Ireland are signed up to the green schools program voluntarily.