Saturday 10 December 2016

Martina Devlin: President who gives value for money gets my vote

Published 29/09/2011 | 05:00

From left: Gay Mitchell, David Norris, Mary Davis, Sean Gallagher, Martin McGuinness, Dana Rosemary Scallon and Michael D Higgins
From left: Gay Mitchell, David Norris, Mary Davis, Sean Gallagher, Martin McGuinness, Dana Rosemary Scallon and Michael D Higgins

This is not intended as a slight on Mary McAleese, who has distinguished herself in the Aras, but do we actually need a President? Is the office a post-colonial anachronism, redundant in the modern world?

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Perhaps we should be focusing on that question, as much as on which of the seven job applicants is big enough to fill Mrs McAleese's boots. Some insist we must have a guardian of the Constitution who is apolitical, but the US doesn't have a separate head of government and head of state: one office-holder fulfils both functions.

A figurehead president could be considered irrelevant when we already have an elected Taoiseach; and not just extraneous but a luxury, since the money to finance the presidential establishment has to be borrowed.

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