Joan Freeman: Presidential Candidate

Presidential candidate Joan Freeman says , "We need to listen to young people."

Presidentialhopeful Joan Freeman aims to win the hearts and votes of the public with her straightforward campaign.

Freeman wants the country and the government to take a step back and ‘focus on itself”.

The 60-year-old, mother of four was first nominated for the Seanad in 2016 by Enda Kenny, the Taoiseach at the time. She has since worked as an independent senator.

During this time, she helped form the Committee of Future Mental Health Care which plans to have a long-lasting positive effect in Ireland. She now chairs this committee during its meetings.

So far, Freeman has led a “president for the people” campaign in her hopes to represent Ireland.

Freeman wants the government to focus on supporting the people of Ireland. In particular she wants a stronger focus on those affected by mental health and on the elderly.

She has voiced her commitment to standing for the youth and elderly of the country saying she wants to, “give a voice to the young people” and to “change the language” that surrounds elderly people in our day to day lives.’

When asked by The College View, why students should vote for her, Freeman said, “All my adult life, my work has focused on young people…I understand the issues facing young people today; housing, rising third level fees, gender issues, mental health difficulties, and I want to continue to highlight these issues as President.”

She continued, “As President, I will include young people on the Council of State… We need to listen to young people and that’s why I want to give them a voice in shaping the Presidency for the next seven years.

Her focus on mental health has been prevalent for years. This focus is what originally brought her to the eyes of the public in Ireland.

She founded the suicide intervention and prevention organisation, Pieta House in 2006 and since then has established 12 centres in Ireland that offer free therapeutic services.

Pieta House’s goal is to, “support people and communities in crisis by providing freely accessible, professional services to all.”

Famous for its annual event ‘Darkness into Light’, Pieta House and what it stands for has become a household name. The familiarity of the organisation has greatly benefited Freeman and her publicity in the run up to the campaign.

The basis of Freeman’s campaign, to focus on the people of Ireland whom she hopes to represent falls similarly in line with the mission of Pieta House.

On October 26 Irish voters will decide whether Freeman and her plans for Ireland are what they want as their President.

Róisín Phelan

Image Credit: Joe Houghton