Friday 20 October 2017

The presidency must stay above the fray - otherwise you rob it of prestige

Sabina Higgins has intervened in the abortion debate. It has been claimed that as a 'private citizen' she has a right to do so. But if she was simply a 'private citizen', would she have been invited to address the various 1916 events? (Picture: Steve Humphreys)
Sabina Higgins has intervened in the abortion debate. It has been claimed that as a 'private citizen' she has a right to do so. But if she was simply a 'private citizen', would she have been invited to address the various 1916 events? (Picture: Steve Humphreys)
David Quinn

David Quinn

Is it really so surprising that Sabina Higgins has weighed in to the abortion debate? She and her husband - our First Citizen - have been using the prestige given to them by the office of the presidency to advocate for all sorts of points of view.

In this column a few weeks ago, I described how Michael D Higgins has been continually using the soapbox provided to him by the presidency to push a particular worldview, in his case, socialism.

Is that putting it too strongly? Not at all. Read his speeches in which he attacks so-called "neo-liberalism", attacks free market advocates such as Milton Friedman, extols their intellectual opposite numbers and, in one of his 1916 speeches, even managed to work in a favourable reference to soviet committees set up in various parts of the country 100 years ago.

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