Wednesday 16 October 2019

Bravo for welcome breath of fresh air

Madam – Last year at Listowel Writers' Week I had the privilege of hearing the opening address being given by our President, Michael D Higgins. Once that man said his first word, everyone was captivated by his address. He spoke on what the arts mean to the culture of a nation. It is, he said, the very expression of their soul, the essence of their being, the thing that for good or bad makes us what we are. He was, he said, proud to be Irish, and proud to be the President of the Irish nation.

He enthralled us with his humour, his vast knowledge of culture and the arts. The way that he spoke made it clear that he did not wish to be misunderstood by using high-faluting phrases or words. He spoke without pause for an hour-and-a-half, and at the end of his speech he received a standing ovation from everyone who heard it.

The next time I heard him speak was when he addressed the Olympic athletes on their return. Once more the eloquence of his words captivated all who heard them.

In his latest speech he has addressed the European Council of Ministers. He left no doubt about what he thought of the way the financial giants of Europe were treating the people of Ireland.

I must admit that I was amazed that he was allowed to make such a speech. After all, up to now the post of President has been seen as merely a rubber stamp to confirm the wishes of the government in power.

The Government will think long and hard before letting him address another meeting like this. Should it wish to see his speech before it is given and perhaps want to make changes, I am sure he would tell them just where to go.

So Bravo Mr President, you are a breath of fresh air in the stagnant and rotten corridors of politics. I hope to hear much more from you in the future.

Michael O'Meara,

Killarney, Co Kerry

Irish Independent

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