Why I may run for Irish president because it is time for the Irish abroad to speak up


The Irish Times is reporting as part of a lead front page story today that I am considering running for president of Ireland.

Here is what they wrote in part.

"The New York-based Irish journalist and publisher Niall O’Dowd has also confirmed that he is actively considering mounting a bid to enter the presidential race.

Mr O’Dowd (58) said he had been approached by a cross-party group of Irish and Irish-Americans who urged him to consider putting his name forward. He would not disclose their identities.

Mr O’Dowd was an influential figure in developing the peace process in the US.

“I am very passionate about Ireland and about the future. I hate to see what is happening to it.

“The people laid out a compelling case. I said I would consider their request. They sketched out the importance of the role, of job creation, of the US, and how a president could be a business president. The US is where Ireland needs to be. This generation has had its future stolen from them,” he said.

All of the above I feel passionate about and I believe the race for the Irish presidency would be immeasurably broadened by having an Irish Diaspora voice if I decided to run.

The time for lip service to that Diaspora is over. It is time to make that voice for 40 million Irish Americans heard loud and clear -- not to mention the tens of thousands that will soon be joining that journey west or Down Under.

I was totally taken aback during the recent visit to Ireland for the Obama visit to have a group of influential Irish figures approach me on this very issue.

They see that the Diaspora, when it comes to tourism and direct investment, are deeply important for the future of Ireland. They feel that the past leadership in Ireland has utterly failed the country and that the answer these days lies far more in Boston than Berlin.

I wholeheartedly agree.

I don't know what the future holds for the notion of an emigrant candidate for Irish president.

But rest assured dear reader I will keep you informed.

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