Now I know many of you are overseas, and desperate as you are to vote for me, I thought I should explain the Irish Presidency is a Non-Executive role as Head Of State. For those of you in Ireland, this means that even with zero political experience, I still can’t mess up too badly. The worst I can is embarrass us all and spend all the expenses. Free grease and googles for every Sandycove Swimmer. Come on, you’ve given €75 billion to foreign banks, wouldn’t you like to see me using the expense account to support local swims? I’ll use it for free entry to all Open Water swims, with a state dinner after every swim over 5k! Free flights on the Presidential Jet for all Channel Aspirants, to any Channel. Do I get a Presidential Jet? How about a Presidential Rib?
But what’s my manifesto, you ask?
First – to ensure continuity with the two previous Presidents, I promise to change my name to Mary and indeed, I have already asked Dee to also start calling me Ma’am and Uachtaráin.
Second – The two previous Presidents set out to be Bridge-builders. To continue this theme, I promise to swim under those bridges. And bring others with me. We will swim in every* river in series of national free swims. I will initiate a national debate on the state of Irish Open Water swimming, and will put the Presidential Seal on free silicone hats for all swims.
Third – I will use my personal bodyguard (surely I’d have a bodyguard, right?) from the Army and Coast Guard to provide boat and safety cover for all swims over 1k. The LE Eithne will provide safety cover for the Sandycove Challenge. No more Swim Ireland!
Fourth – The use of Farmleigh House will be granted for the annual Channel Swimmer’s party. I will lobby for have the Monday after the Sandycove Challenge made a new public holiday.
Fifth – The Council of State will include Ned Denison and Eilis Burns. I will seek the introduction of a National Honours System, with everyone who has swam 10k or more guaranteed of selection for an award of Son, (or Daughter), of Manannán.
Sixth – I will lobby the Executive Branch of government for the removal of VAT on all swimming products. And to use National Lottery Funds to install changing rooms, toilets, hot showers and jacuzzis at all popular open water swimming spots**. All Channel swimmers will benefit from a special tax-exempt status and crew costs will be covered by a special EU grant scheme.
All I need from you is the nomination and the support of 20 County Councillors and a small donation toward my campaign.
At the start of this post, you were wondering about my sanity, but now you’ve seen the Grand Plan, you realise everything I say makes sense. You know it does …
Just remember: Vote early. Vote often.* Except those rivers that are, you know, too ichy. ** i.e. Guillamene, Clonea & Sandycove