The Voice Of A Generation

#TrendsterAras18 Presidential Interview Series: Senator Joan Freeman


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 second candidate to accept our interview request was Senator Joan Freeman. I sat down to speak with Joan over tea in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin.

Page 1 of 8 :
Why did do you decide to run for the Presidency?
  • 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 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?

1. Why did do you decide to run for the Presidency?

Believe it or not, I thought about it years ago. As the founder of Pieta House and Darkness into Light, I could see the power of people behind, you know, difficult issues such as suicide and I thought, I could do this on a much bigger scale, bring all social issues onto the table if I became president… and then I became a Taoiseach’s nominee… and became a Senator, and I thought, that’s grand, that’ll do, that will probably do the same trick, you know I’ll be inside, working government, and I’m two and half years as a Senator and it so grindingly slow… so someone said to me, listen if you want to have a bigger impact, get out there, go run for the president’s office and see how you get on.

Harry: Big decision?

It was, but the thing is, yes and no… first of all as I said, I thought about it years ago anyway, but then, you know starting Pieta House was the biggest decision of my life and my family’s life because I was removed then, I was absent, and that was a really difficult thing for my children, and particularly my husband to cope with, but they accepted it and loved it, so this is probably no different, it’s going to be busy but then that’s how I thrive.

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