The Voice Of A Generation

#TrendsterAras18 Presidential Interview Series: Sean Gallagher

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The #TrendsterAras18 Presidential Interview Series aims to help better inform young voters ahead of the Irish Presidential Election on Friday, October 26th. We have requested interviews with each of the six presidential candidates and have set out a list of eight questions which we believe will offer young people more of an insight into each of the presidential hopefuls.

The first candidate to accept our interview request was Sean Gallagher. I sat down to speak with Sean during his visit to University College Cork.

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What do you understand the Presidents role to be in a modern Ireland?
  • 1. Why did do you decide to run for the Presidency?
  • 2. In your opinion, what do you believe sets you apart from the other candidates?
  • 3. What do you understand the Presidents role to be in a modern Ireland?
  • 4. Can the President implement any substantial changes on issues affecting young people in Ireland or is the role restricted? If so should this be changed?
  • 5. Over the last number of years, we have seen some substantial social changes in Ireland, two of the most notable would be gay marriage and the removal of the 8th amendment, many would agree that these changes were driven by younger voters wanting a better Ireland. As President is there any further social change that you would like to champion?
  • 6. There has been much discussion in the last year around lowering the voting to sixteen, what are your views?
  • 7. If elected as President and you could invite anybody over to Aras an Uachtaráin for tea, who would be your first choice?
  • 8. If given the opportunity, what one piece of advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?

3. What do you understand the Presidents role to be in a modern Ireland?

I understand it to be… at its basic level, it’s the protector of the Constitution, but beyond that, it’s about being leadership, it’s about setting an example, it’s about setting a tone, it’s about setting a beat, it’s about setting a values system, I think that… that a dynamic… presidency… embracing change, looking outward, not looking back, standing on the foundation of the past, but not being shackled by it, and reimagining… like I know young people now… compared to when twenty five years ago, leaving school, or leaving college, we didn’t have internet, we didn’t have technology the way it is now, and in twenty years’ time, you guys will be working in jobs that are not yet developed, and you’ll most likely be working in industries not even yet conceived, that is the truth… so it’s about being able to say, how do you move to a changing world, and you know what that will be, that will not be about specific skills or abilities, or remembering information that you learned in college, that will be a mindset of valuing yourself, wanting to impact the world, making the greatest amount of change, being leaders, being able to work as a team, being able to be creative, being able to, and wanted to solve problems… and back to my original point, young people now want a life of meaning… that’s what it’s about, how does my life have meaning, purpose, can I find things I’m passionate about, and can I live my life using my strengths, that’s ultimately, I want to create that conversation, it’ll be about respect for ourselves, and others, it’ll be an inclusive society where everybody is included and nobody is forgotten about… and uniqueness is celebrated, but ultimately where everybody has a responsibility to play their part, that’s key, and ultimately that it doesn’t become a me, I, myself society, but one about us, we and together, and that’s about building, what we know well in Ireland is a sense of community.

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