Candidate had not wanted daughter ‘dragged into campaign’

Aislinne Freeman spoke of same-sex relationship to ‘silence’ Iona Institute claims

Presidential candidate Joan Freeman: said she could never have been associated with an organisation that would “exclude” her daughter “because of her sexual orientation”. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

Presidential candidate Joan Freeman: said she could never have been associated with an organisation that would “exclude” her daughter “because of her sexual orientation”. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

 

Presidential candidate Joan Freeman has said she did not want her daughter’s personal life to be “dragged into the campaign”, after she publicly revealed she was in a same-sex relationship in recent days.

Ms Freeman’s daughter stated publicly at the weekend that she was in a same-sex relationship, saying she was doing so to dismiss any perception of links between her mother and conservative Catholic group the Iona Institute.

Speaking on Monday, Ms Freeman said: “After months of my daughter, Aislinne, feeling frustrated by the fact that I’m constantly accused of being a member of the Iona Institute, she felt she needed to speak about her same-sex relationship to silence the claims.”

Ms Freeman, founder of suicide-prevention charity Pieta House, said rather than being given time to talk about mental health or what she would like to achieve if elected president, “Iona has been brought up time and time again.”

Link with organisation

She said she could never have been associated with an organisation that would “exclude” her daughter “because of her sexual orientation”.

“I never wanted Aislinne’s personal life to be dragged into this campaign. However, she felt that this was her opportunity to clear things once and for all,” she said.

The Iona Institute says it “promotes the place of marriage and religion in society” as well as “freedom of conscience and religion and the right to life”.

Ms Freeman has said she voted yes in the marriage equality referendum.

She voted no in the recent referendum to remove the Eighth Amendment from the Constitution, which had given an unborn child an equal right to life with the mother.

However, Ms Freeman has said she would sign resulting legislation permitting abortion into law if elected.

Polling in the presidential election will take place on Friday, October 26th.