Friday 23 February 2018

Lise Hand: We've seen the return of a vocal Michael D but he needs to watch his step

President Michael D Higgins
President Michael D Higgins

It was a stormy day on November 11, 2011, when President Michael D Higgins made his inaugural address in Dublin Castle. In his speech he laid out his vision for his term of office, vowing: "It will seek to be of assistance and encouragement to investment and job creation, to innovation and original thinking – a Presidency of ideas – recognising and open to new paradigms of thought and action."

However, for the following 12 months the newly-minted Uachtaran faded from view. Granted, it had been a particularly tumultuous and dramatic presidential race which had dominated the headlines, but the President put in a remarkably low-key first year in terms of public profile. Despite having a busy schedule of events every day, it seemed as if the strict constitutional protocol surrounding the role of Head of State had managed to stifle the former Labour firebrand Michael D's trademark outspokenness.

But perhaps the Ninth President of Ireland had simply been feeling his way into his new role, and examining the hitherto unyielding boundaries which separated his position from government. For not long after his first anniversary in the Aras had passed he began to hit the headlines once more.

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