On Friday last I ran in the general election as an Independent candidate here in the Galway West constituency. It was my first time running in a general election. I received 251 first preferences. I thank most sincerely those people who voted for me. While I ran on a number of issues, all personal and/or strongly held beliefs of mine, I was most vocal on my Pro-Life stance. I put myself before the electorate highlighting these issues.
Many people couldn’t understand that I was Pro-Life having been actively involved in canvassing for a ‘Yes’ vote in the marriage equality referendum last year. Initially I was puzzled by this until I realized that possibly a majority of people who are Pro-Life base their views primarily on their religious beliefs. While I am a practising Catholic myself, my Pro-Life views are not necessarily based on my religious beliefs. It is simply my belief that life begins at conception and the 8th Amendment to the constitution recognizes this fact and must be protected.
I did not hide the fact that I was a Yes Equality canvasser last year, during my campaign, even stating it in my election leaflets. In fact one other Pro-Life candidate that I know of wasn’t shy about reminding their supporters that I supported same sex marriage. What this has to with abortion, I have no idea.
The 17 candidates who finished above me consisted of 5 TDs, 4 Councillors, 3 Senators and 5 other candidates who are members of political parties. I stood as an Independent with very limited resources and a small canvass team. I put myself forward for who I am, not making any attempt to hide any parts of my life.
While I was initially disappointed with the number of people who gave me No. 1, on mature reflection I now feel it was no small achievement. As the saying goes, ‘I’d rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I’m not.’