Sinn Féin’s presidential candidate, Liadh Ní Riada, has said that the presidency should not be the preserve of the political establishment.
She made the comments at a canvass in Oranmore, Galway, this morning, saying ““The political establishment of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Labour Party are united behind one candidate in this election.
“They do not want change. They want to preserve the status quo.
“They want a President who won’t challenge them, who won’t hold them to account.
“But I believe that we need a constructive tension between President and Government – not a cosy consensus.
“The establishment parties did not want any election. They did not want the people to have a choice. They wanted a coronation.
“Now that we have an election, it is important that people exercise their vote and vote for change.
“I am the only candidate that can actually challenge the status quo.
“Over the past seven years, the current President has not once addressed the Houses of the Oireachtas on any of the issues which are impacting on our people.
“I have made clear that as President, I will remind legislators to do their job, that they have a duty of care to the Irish people – that no one can be left behind.
“I will be a President who stands up for ordinary people, and who will point out that people need decent healthcare, decent housing and access to decently paid jobs.
“The Presidency should not be the preserve of the establishment. We need a President who will speak out on the need for equality and social justice.”
Ní Riada was nominated by Sinn Féin as a presidential candidate three weeks ago and has said that she will be a “new president for a new Ireland.”