Running for Irish President : A first endorsement and a strange new reality--- I'm an alien.
By: Niall O'Dowd | Published Sunday, June 19, 2011, 6:10 AM | Updated Friday, September 9, 2011, 10:15 PM
Dublin: I received my first endorsement for the presidential race on Saturday when Irish Independent columnist Liam Fay stated I should be elected.
The Independent is Ireland’s largest selling newspaper so it was gratifying to see an endorsement from one of their top columnists.
I don’t know Liam Fay except by reputation and he is a widely respected journalist but I never spoke to him or got his take on why he wanted to endorse me.
His main point was that most of the other candidates were totally compromised by their elected presence in Europe during the recent meltdown when they did nothing and at least I had a reputation for plain speaking and was in America while all this nonsense was going on.
He also stated that after the first debate when a whole lot of nothing went on, that I would provide an alternative voice, far removed from the status quo if I decided to run..
His viewpoint was also colored by my connections with leading figures in the Democratic Party including former president Bill Clinton which he believed could make for important linkages if elected president.
He wrote; "As an operator practised in the wheeling and dealing of American backroom politics, O'Dowd would be acutely aware of the importance of saying what you mean and meaning what you say. In other words, he speaks plain English which is more than can be said for most of the native contenders."
Mind you the headline writer punched a hole in my ego with the line ‘Time to put an alien in the Aras (Aras an Uachtarain is where the president resides)
This is part of this weird connotation over here that an Irish American is somehow from outer space in thinking of running for Irish president .
I am of Ireland, fiercely so , and resent any notion that there is anything alien in my connection to the land of my birth and where I lived 26 years of my life.
Nonetheless I have to accept that what I am doing strikes many here as passing strange.
In the past week I have had an all out attack on my potential candidacy from The Irish Times written by an obituary writer for the London Times attacking my Irish American identity and a supportive piece written by Liam Fay that celebrates my ‘alien’ status.
What to make of it all? Very little except keep putting one foot in front of the other and see where the road leads.
I am in Dublin for discussions with Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein to see if the potential is there for a total of twenty nominations from the respective parties in order to allow me into the election proper.
I have been encouraged by those who have said they will support me to date and will see where the road leads.
In the meantime I’ll try and get used to my alien status.
Now where can I park my spacecraft on O’Connell Street?