Throughout my involvement in political life, all I have ever wanted to do was make a contribution – to make a difference – to empower people and unite them. I have never sought financial gain or privilege from my involvement in politics and I never will.
We are facing one of the toughest periods of our history – this economic crisis is affecting people throughout Ireland. Ordinary people have been ignored by politicians who put themselves before the people and before Ireland. Citizens have been silenced and robbed by greedy bankers and speculators who used the people and the country’s resources. The ordinary people have been asked to pick up the tab for this by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Labour Party and their candidates in this contest – Sean Gallagher, Gay Mitchell and Michael D. Higgins.
These politicians tell us that there is no money for hospitals but any amount of money for banks and bondholders, no money for special needs teachers but plenty for huge pensions for disgraced bankers, politicians and civil servants. To them the idea of equality, citizenship and patriotism mean nothing.
As political leaders we have to offer something better. We have to offer hope. We have to offer a better future for the people of Ireland.
My priorities as President:
· I will stand for a real Republic where the rights of citizens come first – the right to healthcare, housing, employment and social services. In the Ireland of 2011 we still do not have such a Republic. The people can change that.
· I have a proven record in attracting jobs and investment and will use my influence and reputation internationally to open doors for job creation.
· I will be a people’s President – In tandem with Gaisce, the President’s Award, I will introduce a Citizen’s Award to recognise the work of ordinary people in community and voluntary activism, innovators and entrepreneurs and significant cultural achievements.
· I will uphold the Constitution, stand up for Ireland and stand up for Irish unity.
· I will lead by example and immediately undertake a full review of the budget spend of Áras an Uachtaráin and the Office of the President. I will only take home the average wage.
· I will build on the achievements of the peace process and use the next ten years as a Decade of Reconciliation to celebrate the diverse nature of our society.
· I will champion a charter for inclusion for people with learning, sensory and physicial disabilities across Ireland.
· I will be a President for all of Ireland and for the global Irish community.
Déanfaidh mé Áras an Uachtaráin fáilteach do gach roinn do shochaí na hÉireann, go háirithe iad siúd a bhí imeallaithe go dtí seo.