I have decided to seek a nomination for the Presidency of Ireland. I hope you will support me. My reasons for doing so are here: https://t.co/ooU1WmBu4o
— Gemma O’Doherty (@gemmaod1) August 19, 2018
From top: Journalist and Presidential hopeful Gemma O’Doherty during the Disclosures Tribunal and her tweet last night;
Via Gemma O’Doherty:
‘Thank you for all of your incredible support in recent days and weeks, and to everyone who has taken the time to write to me privately.
I’m also really grateful to [film director and housing activist][ Terry McMahon [who urged Ms O’Dohertry to run] for his words of encouragement, so eloquently cast. His talent and courage are an inspiration to me, and I know, to many of you.
As an Irish woman who loves her country to its core but hardly recognises it any more, I am deeply concerned about the unimaginable suffering and chaos so many of our people are subjected to daily.
I despair for Ireland and what it has become. Like many of you, I am frustrated that we keep allowing the same mistakes to happen over and over again.
For many years, you have been telling me your stories. Stories of crippling injustice at the hands of the state, the health service, the Gardai, the courts, the banks.
In my work as an investigative journalist, I have witnessed first hand the despicable treatment of citizens who have stood up and tried to fight for their basic rights.
The right to truth and justice for their murdered loved ones.
Their right to a proper police force that protects and serves them.
Their right to decent healthcare and affordable housing.
Their right to a reliable publicly-owned water supply, safe food and a clean environment.
Their right to proper care for their most vulnerable family members and friends.
Their right to freedom of speech and expression. Their right to a free press. Their right to a life that is worth living.
The Government is failing the people of Ireland on a terrifying scale. Taking away their dignity. Manipulating them into thinking they are the ones who are wrong.
They show no compassion or empathy for the terrible struggle so many citizens face every day. They seem not to love their people or their country at all.
Nobody in a ‘first world’ democracy should have to beg for treatment for their sick child or be lied to by the state about their health when they are terminally ill.
No child should have to suffer the fear and indignity of spending a night in a police station.
Nobody in a wealthy country like ours should have to endure the nightmare of being evicted from their home by a foreign vulture fund when they are working endless hours to keep a roof over their heads.
No victim of child sexual abuse should be dismissed or have their self-respect ripped further apart when they seek legal redress.
No journalist should be afraid to do their job and speak truth to power.
Sadly, these scenarios are far too common in the Ireland of today. Citizens are broken. Democracy is broken. The social contract is broken. Ireland is broken. We are losing our sense of national pride with each passing day, and our hope in the future. We cannot allow that to happen.
It is time for us to come together as a people scattered all around the world and demand change for our country.
A different way of doing things. An end to the corruption that has infested Irish public life and the disgraceful squandering of our taxes and resources. We owe it to ourselves, to our children, to our country’s reputation, and to our forebearers who had a very different vision for this beautiful island that is our home.
The time has come to demand a new Ireland.
It is for these reasons I have decided to put myself forward for nomination to the Presidency. It is not a decision I have come to lightly but I believe the country and the people are ready for change.
Some of you have suggested that I might run for the Dáil. I am ruling that out now because I do not believe our parliament in its current form is able to work for the good of the people.
I understand those who say the Irish president is tethered, gagged, unable to speak out on matters of national interest and public concern or hold government to account.
But that is only because some incumbents have chosen to interpret the position in that way.
That is not my vision for it.
The Head of State can and must protect the Constitution and the rights of citizens enshrined in it, especially in times of national crisis. They can and must speak out when they see injustice. They must show concern for those who endure it. They must listen to the needs of all of the people. They could be a voice for the voiceless. They can and must watch government vigilantly.
My Presidency would stand in the corner of people who get up early in the morning and do not get home until dark because they are enslaved to odious debt they should never have been forced to take on in the first place.
People who cannot sleep at night because they are worried about looming rent hikes or whether their adult children will ever be able to afford a home of their own.
Parents and their small children who are forced to walk the streets hungry with nowhere to go because the state has turned its back on them.
Grandparents put in the position of having to rear their grandchildren because good childcare is financially out of their own children’s reach.
Young nurses, doctors and teachers who are forced to leave their country, their families and aging parents on one-way tickets to the other side of the world because they can no longer even dream of a future here.
Small businesses and farmers struggling to survive to produce original Irish products in the face of a bland, homogeneous consumer culture.
My Presidency would shine a light on the needs of citizens whose healthcare rights are being neglected. Parents who have to battle the state every day to get basic care for their sick and disabled children.
The women whose lives are being cut short due to shortcuts taken by the health service. Their brave fight to protect all of us during their darkest and most frightening hour must never be forgotten by this state and the people of Ireland.
My work in child protection has revealed the struggle so many victims of sexual abuse have to get truth and justice in this country. They need our support, not least because their shattered lives impact on all of us and broader society. Their stories must be heard.
My Presidency would also honour some of my Irish heroes whom I know are yours too. Patriots like Maurice McCabe, John Wilson, Nicky Keogh and Jonathan Sugarman who have taken on the state at huge personal sacrifice to protect the public.
We should honour them not only for their enormous service to the country, but in doing so, we might persuade other whistleblowers to find the courage to come forward too.
My Presidency would hold a special place for our longest and youngest missing person Mary Boyle, Fr Niall Molloy, Sophie Toscan Du Plantier, Jo Jo Dullard and all of our murdered dead who have been denied justice by the Gardai. They will never be forgotten by me.
If the Government refuses to show compassion for citizens in need, the Presidency can and will. We must also do everything to challenge our narcissistic society which is the cause of so many of our ills.
I hope that my track record as a journalist has shown that I am not afraid to stand up to the powerful elites who run Ireland and who have run it into the ground.
They need to be held to account for what they have done to our country. It is the function of media to do that but so many of my colleagues are no longer willing or able to fulfil that role which is so vital to democracy.
Too many of them, especially in the state broadcaster, have become signed-up members of the very elite they should be demanding accountability from.
I was silenced in my work once before. When that happened, I vowed it never would again. I now make that pledge to the Irish people.
But it’s over to you. In order to become a candidate for the Presidency, I need a public mandate and the support of 20 members of the Oireachtas.
If you would like me to serve as your President, I am asking you to contact TDs and Senators and ask them to support my nomination on your behalf.
We have an opportunity to bring about change in Ireland, not just symbolic but real. To end the pain of so many of our citizens so that they can lead fulfilling lives.
To restore self-respect and dignity.
To bring back faith and trust in democracy.
To give hope to the Irish at home and abroad that we can do things differently for once and for all.
Ireland is a rich country. I believe it can be fixed. The overriding remedy is to tackle the greed and corruption of the tiny elite who continue to destroy it for the majority.
We must pour scorn on their immoral actions and the harm they have inflicted on others. We need to stand together as patriots who want a decent society and tell them there is no place for them in the new Ireland.
The country’s reputation is being torn to shreds on the world stage. Internationally, Ireland is seen as a rogue state heading for another major fall. Our tiny island has shone as a giant in the past as a land of progressive ideas, peacemakers and protectors of rights. It can shine again.
It could be a beacon of hope to citizens in other failing democracies all around the world. It could be a country where truth, justice, fairness, equality and integrity really are put first.
A country with zero tolerance for corruption.
That is the Ireland I desperately want and I know you do too. It is an Ireland we can create together.
Our Presidency could be the cornerstone of this new Ireland and inspire a new foundation for a better future.
As our country embarks on a new one hundred years, we can turn that dream into a reality so that generations to come will look back and say we were the ones who stood up and demanded change.
It starts here today.’
Previously: They Are Laughing At You