Thursday 17 October 2019

Michael D will be glad to see back of senator

President Michael D Higgins. Photo: Tony Gavin
President Michael D Higgins. Photo: Tony Gavin
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Senator Gerard Craughwell was never going to be the next President of Ireland - but Michael D Higgins will be very glad that he's gone from the race.

As a former trade union leader, Mr Craughwell was never short of a strong opinion or a soundbite. He didn't take himself too seriously and was prepared to answer questions about the oath of allegiance that he once took to Queen Elizabeth.

For a year now he has agitated for a run at Áras an Uachtaráin but has wasted no time dropping out once the opportunity actually presented itself.

In Leinster House, there is plenty of speculation that he was merely a stalking horse for Sinn Féin or that he's done a deal with fellow senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh. He categorically denies both charges.

Instead, Mr Craughwell says he didn't have the financial backing to engage in a PR battle with wealthy businessmen.

"I'll always wonder if I'll regret the decision. It's a pretty lonely, bitter experience really. Money talks," he told the Irish Independent.

"I got an election so I should be tapping myself on the back. I'm delighted we'll have an election."

Delighted

There's little doubt that Mr Craughwell has also been delighted with his moment in the spotlight.

Over the course of recent months, he has gone from little-known senator to national antagonist.

His attacks on Mr Higgins have at times been harsh and at time been justified - but generally newsworthy.

Without his public campaign to cause an election, there is no guarantee that we would be going to the polls in October.

By withdrawing from the race before the starting gun is actually fired, he will be able to claim that there was huge support for his campaign - if only he could afford it.

And so he walks away with his head held high, knowing that in the minds of many he has done the State some service.

And by quitting while he was ahead, Mr Craughwell may have also done Pádraig Ó Céidigh and Joan Freeman a big favour as well.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Don't Miss