News Analysis

Thursday 23 February 2017

Bruce Arnold: Higgins's grand ambitions hindered from the start

President Michael D Higgins inspects the 5th Infantry Battalion Guard of Honour after his inauguration at Dublin Castle on Friday. Photo: Frank McGrath
President Michael D Higgins inspects the 5th Infantry Battalion Guard of Honour after his inauguration at Dublin Castle on Friday. Photo: Frank McGrath

President Michael D Higgins starts out on a difficult road. He does so with considerable confidence and the inspiring use of language. He has put an optimistic shape on his own future and offered it to the country to follow as best they can. Some will do so with hope in their hearts. Others will be more sceptical.

He has rightly confined himself to the future since the past hardly bears consideration. In the immediate past, we have come through the worst presidential campaign the country has ever seen. Behind a patina of almost ludicrous politeness during the candidates' debates there lurked dishonesty, misrepresentation, concealment and a diet of platitudes.

Comforting though it may be to have finished with this and to have ended up with a candidate who has determination and talent, it would be foolish to forget too easily or too swiftly what we have been through because it bears on what faces us now.

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