Sunday 25 February 2018

Broadcaster will 'always wonder' about decision not to run

Majella O'Sullivan

BROADCASTING legend Micheal O Muircheartaigh has admitted he was never really tempted by the prospect of becoming president.

However, he felt he had to give it due consideration out of respect for the people who had approached him to run for the Aras.

And the retired GAA commentator admitted that a part of him will always wonder if he made the right decision, after declaring he would not be contesting the upcoming election.

"Regret mightn't be the right word, but you'll always wonder did you make the right decision," Mr O Muircheartaigh told the Irish Independent last night.

"You'd be hoping that you did (make the right choice) but one way or another, it's good to make a decision, and leave it at that."

Speaking from his home in Co Meath, the 81-year-old said he based his decision on his belief that sport and politics should never be mixed.

"While I understand the president is above politics, you still have to become involved in the political process in some form to be nominated. No president has been elected yet who hadn't been involved in politics.

"Over the years I've seen people of all political shades being involved in Gaelic games and being comfortable in each other's company and playing together.


"That has never been a factor (political differences) since the time of the Civil War, especially in Kerry, so I decided it should stay that way," he added.

And while he had discussed it with his wife Helena and their eight children, in the end he had to make up his own mind.

"They felt it was a decision for me because it would affect me more than anybody. We discussed it, but the decision was left to myself. They said they'd be happy with whatever decision I made.

"A lot of people had been coming to them and to friends of mine saying I should be a candidate."

He also said that while he was interested in politics, his interest was as an observer.

However, when he was approached by people who thought he should be a candidate he said he couldn't just dismiss their opinions.

"I wouldn't say I was tempted because I had made my decision. I had retired from broadcasting but would continue to be active in a lot of things I'm associated with -- but politics was never one of them.

"If I did end up as president I'd enjoy that role as well. I'm sure Mary McAleese enjoyed her two stints enormously even though I know how hard she worked. The same could be said of Mary Robinson and indeed all the presidents."

He declined to comment on who he'd like to see in the job next, saying it would be wrong of him to come out in favour of one candidate.

Irish Independent

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