The Pieta House founder has made mental health the core pillar of her pitch

Independent Senator Joan Freeman has formally launched her bid for the Presidency.

Speaking in Dublin, Senator Freeman said she knows she can't bring jobs to Ireland or shorten hospital waiting lists – but said she hopes to encourage people to make a difference in their communities.

“I know I can’t fix all that is wrong,” she said. “That’s the job of others.”

“However, what I can do is empower and mobilise people across the country to make a difference in their communities.”

Presidential candidate Joan Freeman during the launch of her presidential campaign in City Assembly House in Dublin, 01-10-2018. Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews

The Pieta House founder said she has made mental health the core pillar of her pitch to be President, saying that she aims to tackle issues like cyber-bullying and low self esteem.

“As a country we have been bruised by the past decade.

“Now as we remember the crash that cost us a generation, we can see the damage beyond the financial one.

“We see the scars, emotional and physical that those years have etched.

“In the worry about financial security; in the citizens that sleep without shelter; in the queues for health services - both mental and physical.

“It has created a new uncertainty that is not going to go away any time soon; an uncertainty that erodes our confidence and that can prevent us from reaching our potential as individuals, as communities and as a society.”

She said she aims to highlight four key areas throughout her campaign.

  • Building Stronger Communities at Home and Abroad
  • Investing in our Wellbeing
  • Valuing our Ageing Population
  • Nurturing Our Young People

Presidential candidate Joan Freeman with her husband Pat and Daughter Aislinne during the launch of her presidential campaign in City Assembly House in Dublin, 01-10-2018. Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews

Earlier, businessman Seán Gallagher said he wants to use his business and life experience to coach and mentor young people" and "build communities."

He also pledged to focus on tackling some of the stigmas that face people who are living with disability.

He said he would use the Presidency to push for a united Ireland if elected – noting that partition has not served the people of Ireland well in the past and won’t do so in the future.