Joan Freeman denies playing 'the poor mouth' and explains €120k loan was from 'a very good guy'

Joan Freeman denies playing 'the poor mouth' and explains €120k loan was from 'a very good guy'

Joan Freeman has formally launched her bid to be President saying she hopes to encourage people to make a difference in their communities.

She is one of six candidates running for the presidency which includes incumbent Michael D Higgins, Seán Gallagher, Gavin Duffy, Peter Casey and Liadh Ní Riada.

She has made mental health the core pillar of her pitch to be President, saying she knows she cannot bring jobs or shorten waiting lists, but she will tackle issues like cyberbullying and low self-esteem.

The Senator said: "I know I can't find jobs or create jobs or shorten waiting lists, I can't fix all things that are wrong.

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

She told Today with Sean O'Rourke on RTE Radio 1 that social issues in this country have been neglected in recent years, and said she believed that, if she was elected President, she could be the conscience and heartbeat of the Government.

She said she is diplomatic, knows how to highlight an issue without causing chaos, and claimed she reflects the real people of this country as she isn't driving around in a big bus or using a helicopter on her campaign.

Senator Freeman said she had got a loan of €120,000 from businessman Des Walsh and intends to pay it back at the SIPO interest rate of 9% over the next five years.

The Pieta House founder defended the acceptance of the loan saying he was a "very good guy" who believed in what she was doing.

Ms Freeman explained that she went out with Mr Walsh when she was 19.

Joan Freeman denies playing 'the poor mouth' and explains €120k loan was from 'a very good guy'

She said: “So we broke up after less than a year – Des went his way I went my way. Seemingly what happened was Des moved to America, moved to I think Texas, and then moved to LA.

"And I was on the Late Late last January and someone sent Des a screenshot of me on the Late Late and said ‘Is that your one Joan Freeman?’

“And after 40 years, he sent me an email, we spoke on the phone.”

When asked if she carried out any background checks on him, Ms Freeman said she was initially interested to see what he looked like now.

She said: “The fundamental question, sorry I might seem very shallow – What does he look like 40 years later? Is he married? Does he have children? Where does he live?”

She added that she was not playing "the poor mouth", but that she did not have the financial backing of other candidates, nor was she aligned to a party.

Realistically, she said, she could not hope to raise any more than €250,000 in the next four weeks. She has set up a GoFundMe account in order to raise funds for the campaign.

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