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Mary Kenny: Role of the president is vital to Ireland's success

My old friend and colleague Tim Pat Coogan has gathered quite a bit of support with his radical suggestion that Ireland doesn't really need a president at all. There was no president in the first constitution of the Irish State, he points out, and the current position was merely set up by de Valera in 1937 as a "well-paid old folks' home".

At the best of times, we can do without a president, and these are not the best of times. Why not spend the money instead on supporting hospitals and education rather than on this "Ruritanian institution, with its aura of the Raj and the Vice-Regal Lodge"?

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