“Presidential Candidate Gay Mitchell canvassing inBlanchardstown with former Taoiseach John Bruton”Pic. Maxwells Dublin no repro fee
I went out canvassing today with Fine Gael’s candidate for President of Ireland, Gay Mitchell MEP.
Gay has been one of my best friends in political life over many years, and it was a real pleasure to be out on the hustings with him again.
Gay was first elected to the Dail in 1981. He was Minister for European Affairs in the Office of the Taoiseach, when I held the latter office from 1994 to 1997. He has also been Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, where he has been relentless in tracking down the waste of taxpayer’s money wherever it occurs.
 I also canvassed for him in 2004, when he first ran for the European Parliament, of which he has since become an extremely effective member. 
Today, we visited areas close to my own home in  County Meath, namely Kilbride, Culmullen, Kilcloon, Dunboyne and Dunshaughlin.  In recent weeks, I have already canvassed with him in Blanchardstown, Palmerstown and Dundrum .
Gay was very well received everywhere he went.  Many people knew him personally. Some were former neighbours of his from Inchicore. Others had worked with him, or with members of his family, and many remember his late brother Jim with great affection.
Gay has family connections in Meath, the Clarke family from Athboy, and his mother in law now lives in Mullagh, which is on the Cavan/Meath border. In Irish political life, these sort of local connections are important.  They bridge the gap between politicians and people.


I believe Gay Mitchell has  the right combination of age, and experience,  to do the job of  President  well for the  seven  year term of the  office required in the  constitution.
  Gay Mitchell is young enough to be able to undertake the physically demanding tasks we  expect our President to fill,  over the full seven year term. Since the Presidency of the late Erskine Childers, who set a very demanding pace, we have expected the President to traverse the world, and the country,  on a daily basis,  and to offer encouragement and inspiration to all.
Gay’s experience as a very effective member of the European Parliament is very relevant to  Ireland’s needs in  2011 and beyond.  At the moment, Ireland depends on the EU institutions to fund day to day spending  and to bridge the  gap that exists between what  the Government spends, and what it collects,  on a daily basis.
If other EU countries were not providing us with bridging finance, we would have to close services and stop issuing pay cheques overnight.  So t would be a sensible decision for the Irish people to elect as President someone who understands the way other EU countries think, who knows their key decision makers personally, and who shares their commitment to EU integration.
Gay  Mitchell has been a  member of the  Economic and Monetary  Committee of the European Parliament so he  knows all the  key  European players who will  have such  a big influence  on Ireland’s policies over  the next two or three years.  As President, he would be able to use these contacts to assist the Government in its work.
Gay Mitchell’s website is www.gaymitchell2011.com

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