James Downey: Michael D deserves to reap our respect and affection
EAMON de Valera said that he invented the presidency of Ireland to provide himself with a nice cushy job when he retired as taoiseach. Who ever said that the old man had no sense of humour?
It certainly was a cushy job during the 14 years that he held it, as it had been in the terms of his predecessors Douglas Hyde and Sean T O Ceallaigh.
For De Valera, the only pebble in the shoe was having to give up the reins of political power. In his early days in Aras an Uachtarain, he tried to interfere in government affairs. His successor as taoiseach, Sean Lemass, soon put a stop to that.