Friday 24 March 2017

Younger than Trap . . . and one goal in mind

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

HE'S younger then soccer boss Giovanni Trapattoni and is well able for the role of president, insists Michael D Higgins.

But the Labour candidate described the age restriction of above 35 years and the selection procedures for president as "archaic and wrong".

Mr Higgins, who is 70, said these matters could not be reviewed in time for this October's presidential election.

But he stressed that age and particularly how a candidate was selected for the role, should be looked at in the future.

When asked if he faced questions about his age, he said no members of the public had ever brought it to his attention.

"When you think about it, I'm several years young than Trapattoni, and than Picasso when he did his work.

"Really, people should concentrate on what capabilities and abilities are necessary and what vision one is offering."

Mr Higgins said no member of the public had ever made his age an issue.

The politician has spent 25 years in Dail Eireann, nine years in the Seanad and wrote a column for popular magazine 'Hot Press' for over a decade.

Asked about the London riots, he remarked on the "vacuum" in young people's lives. Mr Higgins said the collapse of the financial institutions was one reason behind this vacuum along with a "spiritual component".

He had opposed the notion of "no regulation" in the banking sector -- and objected to Fianna Fail's Charlie McCreevy's notion of "light touch" regulation.

When asked if he was a mass-goer, Mr Higgins said he respected all denominations and did not believe he should be asked that question.

He wouldn't comment on Gay Byrne's views on the EU -- after the broadcaster said Ireland was being ruled by "mad men" in Brussels. "If Gay Byrne becomes a candidate, I will debate this with him," he said.

He also said Senator David Norris was "a friend and remains a friend" despite the raging controversy over how the politician had written a letter of clemency for ex-lover Ezra Yizhak Nawi, who was sentenced to six months in prison for the statutory rape of a 15-year-old boy.

Mr Higgins also said he had never written to a judge or a prosecutor.

Irish Independent

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