Freeman pays tribute to Áras contenders’ courage

‘It’s not easy to have yourself scrutinised, criticised and sometimes brutalised’

Speaking after the formal count in the election was completed, Joan Freeman praised “courage of the candidates”.

Speaking after the formal count in the election was completed, Joan Freeman praised “courage of the candidates”.

 

Candidates in the presidential election campaign were “scrutinised, criticised and sometimes brutalised”, according to Senator and presidential hopeful Joan Freeman.

Speaking after the formal count in the election was completed, Ms Freeman praised the “courage of the candidates”.

The Senator, who received 87,908 votes, said of the campaign that “it’s not easy to have yourself scrutinised, criticised and sometimes brutalised”.

She added: “But I think we showed great courage and at the end of it I want to have a glass of wine with them at some stage just to share and just to talk and just to see what it was like for all of us.”

Two-time candidate Seán Gallagher called for focus on opportunity over cynicism. He said “cynicism does not create change. Positive change only comes from challenging the status quo. To achieve this we need new ideas.”

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Quoting US president Teddy Roosevelt he said “it is not the voice of the critic that counts.

Peter Casey who spoke after Mr Higgins said: “I hate following a great orator, one of the best . . . in the words of Elizabeth Taylor, to her seventh husband, ‘I won’t be keeping you long.’ ”

Mr Casey recalled his failed run for the Seanad election when “I got an astounding 14 votes. Someone worked it out that I had a 23,000 per cent improvement” in the presidential election. He garnered 342,000 votes, some 23.3 per cent of ballots cast.

Sinn Féin candidate Liadh Ní Riada said it was important that they had the election. There was a democratic process in place. “The people of Ireland have spoken today and spoke with a resounding yes to put Michael D Higgins back in office”.

She added: “I look to forward to the conversation about a United Ireland being firmly on the agenda, particularly in light of Brexit coming along, and I also hope this is the last election that we have where our citizens in the North won’t have a vote.”

Dragons’ Den star Gavin Duffy addressed Mr Higgins: “Uachtaráin, it is fantastic that you are returned tonight with such a strong mandate and that doesn’t happen . . . unless people put themselves forward and contest the election.

He had “no regrets” about running for the presidency. He said it was important to have the election. The issues facing society and huge changes taking place in work places and “I think it’s important that we address those as a united society, rather than having divisions”.

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