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Friday 24 March 2017

Emigrant will get seat on Higgins's advisory council

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins is to appoint a representative of the Irish emigrant community to his Council of State.

Mr Higgins will announce the names of his seven nominees for the Council of State, which will advise him on presidential matters, in the coming weeks.

They will serve for seven years alongside automatic members such as Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Supreme Court Chief Justice Susan Denham.

Former Taoisigh Bertie Ahern, Brian Cowen, John Bruton and Liam Cosgrave are also members.

Mr Higgins signalled his intentions during the presidential election campaign when he said that he believed one of the president's nominations should represent emigrants

He also stated his desire to be a president for "all the Irish at home and abroad" during his inauguration speech in Dublin Castle last week.

Mr Higgins must consult with the Council of State before he decides to exercise his power as President to refer any bill to the Supreme Court to test its constitutionality.

The Council of State was once criticised for being made up almost entirely of retired politicians, but its members became more diverse under presidents Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese.

Irish Independent

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