viagra serif;”>Gay Mitchell speaks to Rebecca Lambe about his presidential bid
sildenafil serif;”>He comes from humble beginnings, store but today, Gay Mitchell has his sights set on Áras an Uachtaráin. On a recent visit to UCD he told the College Tribune a bit about himself.
It has often been a perception of people that they president is distant and unconnected with the people of Ireland, and in particular the youth of Ireland, but Gay Mitchell feels that this is not the case. “The president can make a real connection with the people generally and with young people in particular…One of the things that I’m concerned about is the rate of suicide in Ireland…this is something we really need to address with all our power. A very large number of those people are young people. The president should help identify the reasons for this and try to turn it around.”
Favourite Musician: Imelda May
Campaign Theme Song: Let me try again – Frank Sinatra
3 famous people alive or dead over for dinner: WT Cosgrove, Sean Lamass, Golda Meir.
Superpower – The power to convince people that compassion is the most important common denominator.
The constitution states that the president must be at least 35 years of age and some have wondered if this age gap has caused our presidents to lose touch with the youth today. “I was a youth leader for eleven years and I have children myself. I don’t think you lose contact. At the time the constitution was written people who were 35 probably were about as mature as people who are 21 today, so there may be claims for reducing [the age limit].”
According to Mr. Mitchell, at the Young Fine Gael National Conference this year 80% of the vote was in his favour. “That made me very proud and showed that I have a connection with young people.”
The two previous presidents will certainly be a hard act to follow for whoever is elected and Mr Mitchell also points to Dr. Hillary as having been an excellent president. “I think Dr. Patrick Hillary is a much underrated man. He restored the presidency at a time when there were doubts about its future. He kept his oath of office and kept the independence of the office by not refusing a dissolution when the then Taoiseach sought it. He’s been followed by two excellent presidents.”
Gay Mitchell has been perceived by many to be a conservative candidate, something he does not agree with. “It’s easy to paint people as conservative, but actually I’ve been very radical in the things that I’ve worked on. I’ve been very effective in representing some of the poorest people in the country, and still do, and I’m proposing a compassionate approach to life that works so I don’t know where that actually comes from. I think its people who can’t put up with me trying to pull me back.”
Mitchell feels that the qualities of direction, innovation and experience are what would make him a good president. “I have a sense of direction. I think we’re at a really important crossroads and the decisions we make now will be important not just for our generation but for the next generation. We have to stop being starry – eyed. I think I have the quality to persuade people. I have the quality of innovation. When I was Lord Mayor I created the Dublin Literary Award and then I was able to sponsor it. A sense of innovation and a sense of safe hands is my direction. I have to experience to deliver that direction.”
Huge amounts of graduates have been forced to leave the country in search of work as unemployment rates remain high and Ireland is no longer as attractive a destination to international companies as it once was. “The president can use the prestige of the office to work with the government both at home and abroad to influence people to have confidence and invest in this country.”
“I have a sense of the future which will be innovative, creative and inclusive. It will help us restore confidence to create jobs. I have the experience to do this job and the energy to do it over the next 7 years.”