Monday 19 February 2018

President must be true patriot

Sir -- Much has been written about who should be the next President, but very little has been written about the qualities needed by the next President. Surely the first quality should be patriotism.

Patriotism should mean in today's Ireland a willingness to forgo the annual presidential salary, or the greater part thereof, especially as the annual tax-free presidential allowance is around €300,000 per annum. Such a generous allowance more than covers all the President's needs.

Accepting €250,000 per annum while at the same time living mortgage and utility bill-free and enjoying free travel, is to my mind the opposite of what patriotism is about. In the absence of any patriotic pledge from the presidential hopefuls, perhaps the Government should step in and reduce the presidential salary to €50,000 and the tax-free presidential allowance to €250,000 per annum thus enforcing the same kind of patriotism on the President as has been forced on the rest of us through successive punitive budgets.

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