Tuesday 24 October 2017

First day on the job -- five items that will be on Higgins's to-do list

Presidential Seminars

•He said that he is going to invite best minds from home and abroad to take part in discussions on key issues. The first will be about young people, particularly youth unemployment, emigration and mental health.

Visit to Buckingham Palace

•He has committed to visiting Irish emigrants in Britain -- where members of his own family are living. And when such a visit occurs, he will be also calling on Queen Elizabeth in Buckingham Palace. Mr Higgins has also indicated that he is willing to go to impoverished countries such as Somalia -- as former President Mary Robinson did in 1992. "I am certainly available to continue the human rights work which is one of the virtues of Ireland's reputation abroad," he said.

Appoint members to the Council of State

•The 23-member Council of State will provide Mr Higgins with advice, particularly if he has any concerns about the constitutionality of legislation he has to sign. He will be able to appoint seven members. The other members are appointed automatically due to their positions -- such as Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and the Chief Justice Ms Susan Denham.

Appoint members to the Constitutional Convention.

•Mr Higgins will be allowed to send representatives to give his views on changing the 1937 Constitution.

He has already said that he is in favour of extending the right to vote to Irish citizens abroad and of reducing the 35-year-old age requirement for becoming president.

Attend centenary anniversaries

•As president, Mr Higgins will be presiding over ceremonies of historical importance such as the 100th anniversary of the Dublin Lockout in 2013, the 100th anniversary of World War One in 2014 and the 100th anniversary of Easter Rising in 2016.

Irish Independent

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