An article in the online blog An American in Ireland from Irish Central yesterday has ignited the idea of the Irish-American Former Mayor of San Jose Tom McEnery (@tom_mcenery on Twitter) being a potential candidate for the forthcoming Irish presidency.
Tom McEnery has had a long and distinguished career in politics, albeit not in Irish politics. As an Irish citizen, McEnery could run if he received the necessary support from a grouping of independents or from the Fianna Fáil party if they decide to allow members to support independent candidates next week.
While not impossible, this would require some effort, with Irish Voice founder Niall O’Dowd citing the difficulties involved in mounting an independent campaign. However, if he could be persuaded to run, he would bring both practical skills and new life to the position of President of Ireland.
McEnery has strong ties to the tech community in Silicon Valley, and can act as a bridge to California. This is a connection that Ireland needs to build on as it grows its position as a location for tech investment and as a base for European headquarters of various US multinationals. He was also instrumental in establishing the Irish Technology Leadership Group with John Harnett, a supporter of McEnery’s potential presidential bid.
McEnery also has wide experience in the regeneration of urban areas, something which Limerick and its doughnut effect could certainly benefit from. He has recently written about the need to nurture successes in Ireland rather than trying to restructure failures, and has said that Ireland should not be trying to improve on an already horrible set of past decisions.
McEnery has an extensive knowledge of Irish history, having written his Masters thesis on Michael Collins, and writing the introduction for John Hume’s “A New Ireland”.
While the odds may be slightly against this happening, the time is certainly right for an Irish-American President of Ireland, and McEnery would make a great one.
Disclaimer: Tom McEnery is a regular contributor to this site, and is an owner of the Irish Innovation Center, one of the investors in Technology Voice.