The lack of mental healthcare facilities was frightening and in a so called modern state totally unacceptable. The conclusion that one speaker came to was that there are no votes in mental health and as a population we tend to speak of mental health in the same way as we used to speak of cancer or even longer ago TB.
This is just a symptom of what is wrong in our society. We have no politicians who can see the wider picture in terms of where we as a society are moving. The Celtic Tiger focused many TDs to concentrate on economic issues rather than on the wider need to inform society of what the broader issues facing us are and will be.. Only now in a recession are we hearing how cuts in spending which was never great at the best of times will effect those on the margins. We have had two great Presidents in the two Marys who have taken difficult issues head on and we need that to continue with the next incumbent of the Aras. The President is no longer or should be no longer a symbolic largely ceremonial figure. He or she should be someone who challenges societies inequalities, leads the people in raising awareness of what is lacking and places a marker for us to follow.
It will be on that basis that I judge and cast my vote for the next President. Have we currently in the list already announced found that person? The answer is I don't know. I see attributes that each currently are highlighting but I don't see the over all rounded statesman or woman that we need.