Pieta House founder Joan Freeman seeking nomination for presidency 2 years ago

Pieta House founder Joan Freeman seeking nomination for presidency

Freeman is the chairperson on the committee on mental health in the Seanad.

The founder of Pieta House, Joan Freeman, has sought nomination for the presidency of Ireland. The Independent senator is believed to have written to a number of senators and TDs seeking support for her nomination ahead of an election later this year.

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Freeman was expected to announce her candidacy last week after President Michael D Higgins clarified his intent to seek a second term. She was nominated to the Seanad by former Taoiseach Enda Kenny in 2016 and is the chairperson on the committee on mental health.

Freeman founded the suicide and self-harm prevention crisis centre in 2006 and acted as its CEO for several years.

Freeman made headlines back in 2016 when she donated the entirety of her €65,000 senator’s salary to the organisation she founded.

Speculation is still mounting in the coming months about a number of other possible candidates running for the presidency. Senators Gerard Craughwell and Pádraig Ó Céidigh expressed interest in recent months as well as artist Kevin Sharkey, while former GAA president Liam O’Neill is also considering a run.

Sinn Féin also announced earlier in the week that they are set to officially present a candidate to oppose President Michael D. Higgins in this year's election.

"Citizens should be given the opportunity to be part of deciding who our President is," party leader Mary-Lou McDonald.

"Those under the age of twenty-five have never voted in a Presidential election. They shouldn’t have to wait until the age of thirty-two to have this opportunity."

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Freeman would need the support of 20 Oireachtas members or four local authorities to secure a nomination.

The presidential election is set to take place on 26 October.