Presidential election: Joan Freeman’s No vote and Knock cure

Áras hopeful speaks of miracle cure and No in abortion referendum

Senator Joan Freeman says that if elected president her “personal conviction would have absolutely no impact” on her public duty. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Independent Senator Joan Freeman, who hopes to be a candidate in the presidential election next month, has said her faith was "absolutely responsible" for curing her eczema on a visit to Knock shrine in Co Mayo when she was a teenager."

“To me it was absolutely responsible and I certainly wouldn’t deny that,” she told Dublin City FM radio station’s Sunday Edition.

“But I don’t know if it’s, you know… sometimes it is portrayed that if you have faith there is something radically wrong with it and, the reality is and research will tell you this, that those who believe, who have faith, actually cope better with life,” she said.

She also said she voted against removal of the Eighth Amendment from the Constitution last May. “My vote was a No vote but it was private,” she said.


She said, however, that if elected president her “personal conviction would have absolutely no impact” on her public duty. “The voice of the people has been heard and there probably will have to be amendments to legislation. That comes with every legislation. We’ll just have to wait and see what is suggested.”

First nomination

But she would "absolutely not" want to see that Eighth Amendment campaign restarted. "It was such a difficult time for all the people of Ireland. It would be absolutely dreadful if it went back to that," she said.

Last Monday she received her first nomination from Cork City Council to run for the presidency on October 26th. Candidates need four nominations from councils or the backing of 20 Oireachtas members. There are several votes taking place in councils on Monday.

Meanwhile Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Ó Cuív has denied he was warned he faced expulsion from Fianna Fáil if he sought a nomination to run in the presidential election.

Mr Ó Cuív said he had always indicated he would not contest the race if President Michael D Higgins was to seek a second term.

Mr Ó Cuív wrote last week to Fianna Fáil Galway county councillors who had approached him to run for the presidency to inform them of his decision not to run. He said he would “not do anything” that would force him to leave his party or “cause division”.

‘Generous and flattering’

He said the offer by councillors to nominate him was “generous and flattering “but Fianna Fail spokespersons had said that “even if Fianna Fáil councillors supported a county council nomination” that the nominee would be “forced out of the party and would have to stand as an Independent”.

Questioned about his decision on Sunday at the General Liam Lynch Commemoration in Fermoy , Mr Ó Cuív was adamant that he not been threatened with expulsion by anyone.

“It was clear the parliamentary party made a decision and if you look at what Fianna Fail spokespersons like Niall Colllins, Timmy Dooley and Robert Troy said, there was a clear message not only to me but to anybody else and to councillors thinking of nominating a Fianna Fail person.”

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times