Thursday, October 27, 2011

My public appeal for your vote today

Here is the letter I had printed in yesterday's Kilkenny People newspaper. Please read it and pass it on if you think it can help others to see that Michael D. deserves your vote today. There's still almost five hours left to cast your vote.

A chara,
I have never before in twenty five years of political activism considered writing a public appeal on behalf of any candidate standing for election. I do so now however because I believe that we as citizens have an opportunity this Thursday to elect as Uachtarán na hÉireann the man who more than any other has inspired me and my generation and who can lift the spirit of our broken country. Never have we needed it more.

In 1987 Michael D. Higgins asked me as a young student leader to join the Labour Party in order to help change my community and play a part in changing our country. Since then I have been proud to stand alongside him in many battles which have made that change. Like he did with me, Michael D brought thousands of people into giving our time and energy to make Ireland a better place. It is the reason that every young person I know who meets him is inspired by him.

Let us also remember the real, concrete actions he took as our first Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht which have had such a profound impact on Kilkenny. He established the Heritage Council which now has its headquarters in this city, he established the National Film board and put in place an incentive scheme which has led to the creation of thousands of Irish jobs, including those in companies like our own Cartoon Saloon. And let us never forget TG4. Is Michael D an chéad aire a chuir stop leis an 'caint san aeir' faoin nGaeilge agus a thug stádas lárnach, nua-aimsirthe di, ag seasamh le Ghaelscoileanna agus ag labhairt an teanga go hoscailte agus go líofa. He also established the ACCESS arts grant scheme which led to the upgrading of our Watergate theatre and the building of the George Bernard Shaw facility in Carlow.

Michael D. has always had justice and equality at the heart of his writings, thoughts and actions. Anybody who attended the protests against the Iraq war will remember his passion, his independence and his focus. He has always defended the poor and the oppressed throughout Ireland and the world and is therefore in a unique position to represent us at home and abroad.

Finally Michael D. Higgins stood clearly against the values of greed and mé féinism which destroyed this country in the past fourteen years. He will be a clear voice for the return to our best values of community, solidarity and positivity as our head of state. More than any other person he would with conviction read the section of our proclamation committing us to finally cherish all the children of the nation equally on Easter Sunday 2016. I urge every Kilkenny citizen to consider these issues before making this crucial national decision.
Is mise le meas,
Cllr. Seán Ó hArgáin