Category: Archive

Editorial: An exceptional candidate

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

In 2004, County Mayo’s Jim Higgins was elected to the European Parliament for the Fine Gael party. He said immediately he would give up his seat in Seanad Eireann – the Irish Senate – to make way for a representative of the diaspora.
Higgins’s move was seen as generous and compassionate, and welcomed even by Fine Gael’s bitter opponents, Fianna F_il. The proposal was in effect suspended for many months by the prospect of Seanad reform, and formal allocation of seats for emigres.
Now it is clear such reforms will not take place before 2007, and Higgins has indicated his offer still stands – if there are qualified candidates for his seat.
Ray O’Hanlon is such a candidate.
He left his native Dublin as part of the 1980s wave of emigration, but never lost touch with his country. As senior editor at this newspaper he has chronicled the lives of the Irish across North America, and even further afield. He has – quite literally – written the book about how the Irish won U.S. Green Cards. And he has argued eloquently for the legalization of today’s Irish undocumented.
Crucially, he has consistently declined to play “party politics,” either here or with Irish groupings.
As Senator O’Hanlon, he will be a lucid and articulate voice in the Seanad for all Irish emigres, at a time when some have achieved enormous success, but others face serious problems.
In the Seanad by-election that will likely follow the resignation of Jim Higgins, only county and city councilors in the Republic can cast a ballot.
Today we urge each and every one of them: Vote for Ray!

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