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President's swearing-in to clash with Armistice centenary

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Eoghan Murphy Photo: Tony Gavin

Eoghan Murphy Photo: Tony Gavin

Eoghan Murphy Photo: Tony Gavin

The inauguration of the next President of Ireland will clash with the centenary of the World War I Armistice, but the Government has said its hands are tied on the date.

November 11 marks Armistice Day, which is observed each year to commemorate the signing of the treaty which ended the war.

Also on the date this year is presidential inauguration day after Michael D Higgins' term in office finishes and the fresh mandate begins.

Some 30,000 Irish soldiers died during World War I.

Labour Party leader, Brendan Howlin, has called for the inauguration date to be changed to ensure Ireland is represented by a head of state at the commemorations.

However, the Constitution provides that a presidential term must start the day after the previous term ends, which falls at midnight on November 10.

Work is going on to examine the possibility of holding the inauguration early on November 11 in order to ensure the president is available to attend commemorations.

A spokesman for Minister Eoghan Murphy, who this week signed the electoral order to trigger the presidential election, said the date is not a matter for Government and that it must take place on that day.

Health Minister Simon Harris, meanwhile, said the issue was a "logistical" one that the Government would reflect on.

"As a country we've shown a maturing in relation to this in recent years, which is very welcome in commemorating a range of events in a sensitive manner," he said.

On the clash between the two events, he said: "I'm sure this is something Government will reflect on further, but there is a logistical issue in the need to inaugurate."

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