Liada Ní Riada: Presidential Candidate

Liadh Ní Riada joined Sinn Féin in 2011 as the party’s national Irish language officer

A process of reconciliation will be the main theme of Liadh Ni Riada’s presidency, the candidate said in her welcoming speech last week upon receiving her nomination from Sinn Féin.

Ní Riada credits her background and appreciation of Ireland’s identity as two key components that she believes makes her to be a suitable candidate for the Presidency.

She joined Sinn Féin in 2011 as the party’s national Irish language officer. In 2014 Ní Riada was selected as the Sinn Féin candidate for Ireland South for the 2014 European Parliament elections.

During her time as MEP, she raised issues such as Brexit, rural Ireland, climate change, neutrality and both economic and social justice.

The mother-of-three also enjoyed a career in television and ran her own production company. She served on the board which set up TG4.

“As someone who lost both parents at a young age, I have faced personal challenges and hardship. Myself and my siblings raised each other. This has given me a strong sense of independence and an empathy for those who are struggling,” she said.

The nominee grew up in west Cork and she was raised in the Gaeltacht in an Irish speaking family. She is the daughter of Seán O Riada, who composed and arranged Irish traditional music. He went on to become one of the most influential figures in the revival of Irish traditional music during the 1960s.

Ní Riada said that Ireland has “radically changed” since the last Presidential election, but added that this is only the “beginning of the chapter.”

The Sinn Féin presidential candidate has stated that the state of the homelessness crisis is of concern to her:

“I want to use my role as a president to address the House of Oireachtas to discuss the national issues such as the housing crisis.”

The Ógra Shinn Féin society in Dublin City University (DCU) welcomed Ní Riada’s nomination:

“With Liadh having Unity as a central theme to her presidency campaign, it is only aiding in putting forward the idea of an emerging united Ireland to the general public and the copious benefits which it will bring for the people of Ireland,” a spokesperson for the group said.

They added: “Liadh as president will address the government when necessary on issues such as the housing crisis to help ensure that an inclusive and progressive Ireland exists for its citizens which previous and the current government have failed to do.”

By Catherine Gallagher

Image Credit: Sinn Féin