Friday 19 January 2018

Give the young a kick up the Aras

Tinkering with tradition simply shows how little we really care about the office of the presidency, says Eilis O'Hanlon

Mary McAleese and Queen Elizabeth II
Mary McAleese and Queen Elizabeth II
Mary Robinson and PAul Newman

Eilis O'Hanlon

This is the referendum which will define how the outside world sees Ireland.These are words that absolutely no one in his or her right mind has said about the upcoming vote to lower the age at which a person can stand for the presidency from 35 to 21, to be held in tandem with the same-sex marriage referendum later this month.

In fact, of all the constitutional referendums which have been held in recent decades, this surely is the least interesting. It makes the one on judges' remuneration look positively earth-shattering in comparison. Accepted or rejected, it makes no difference to anything. No one will be upset by the result. It's not going to ruin anyone's day, let alone split families. It barely even comes up in conversation.

The only thing more difficult right now than finding anyone who can be bothered discussing this matter is finding anyone who, having been forced into discussing it, has a particularly strong opinion on it one way or another.

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