Mayo presidential candidate Mary Davis formally launched her bid for the Áras this week after receiving more than the necessary backing of four county councils, including Mayo, and will seek to repair Ireland’s international reputation and restore national pride if elected.
The Kiltimagh native, who is currently the president and managing director of Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia, addressed the members of the council on Monday evening in Castlebar. Ms Davis’ nomination was proposed by Independent councillor Richard Finn and seconded by fellow Independent councillor Michael Holmes. None of the major parties opposed the nomination, with both Sinn Féin and Fine Gael wishing her the best of luck in the election but informing her that they will be supporting their own candidates in the race for the Áras.
There was one opposing voice with Ballina based Independent councillor Gerry Ginty telling the meeting: “I regret to say that I can not support Mary Davis, she took a a view on the Lisbon treaty which was contrary to what I believed in.”
Ms Davis, on her first day as a formal candidate last Tuesday, was delighted that she had received endorsements from a huge cross section of society, including councillors of almost all parties and none.
“Deciding to run for president is a major decision for any citizen to take. Deciding to seek that job in succession to one of the most admired and respected holders of the office, President Mary McAleese, was an even tougher one,” she said on Tuesday morning.
Having served since 2004 on President McAleese’s Council of State, Ms Davis has witnessed how the Presidency can “reflect and embody all that is good and noble about our people”.
Over the past months Ms Davis has been developing her vision of how her presidency could work in rebuilding pride at home and restoring respect for Ireland internationally.
Coming to the race as an independent with no political background or celebrity status, she feels she has a strong record of getting things done and working with ministers and public representatives at home and across the EU.
Her career as an advocate for those who have been excluded and marginalised has been “quietly and effectively building coalitions and alliances” to achieve her goals.
Over the next six weeks Ms Davis will be discussing the type of presidency Ireland needs. “It should be about the values we wish to see reflected in Áras an Uachtaráin, and about the way in which the Presidency can work to repair Ireland’s reputation on the international stage.
“The message I take into this debate is clear and straightforward: as president I will take a role in restoring pride in our country at home while rebuilding respect for Ireland on the world stage.
“Today, Ireland is a tough place to be for many people. Individuals and families in all parts of the country are coping with deep problems. Communities are hollowed out from emigration. Unemployment is rampant. On the international stage our sudden fall has made many people ask tough, uncomfortable, questions about our country.
“These are the challenges we face: as individuals, as a society and as a nation. These are the issues that I believe the next president, whoever that may be, must address – with courage and conviction – from the first day in the job.”
Ms Davis will also be looking to tell the story of Ireland’s recovery on the world stage while working to attract new investment to Ireland.