Monday 23 April 2018

President Michael D and that difficult second term

Michael D Higgins pledged to usher in a 'Presidency of ideas', but settled in the end for being a cuddly national icon, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

GREEK ODYSSEY: President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina visiting an olive grove, near Corinth, yesterday
GREEK ODYSSEY: President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina visiting an olive grove, near Corinth, yesterday

Busy accident and emergency departments across the capital must have been hit last Wednesday evening by a wave of patients whose jaws had hit the floor after a woman rang 98FM's late night Dublin Calls show to say that what she really liked about President Higgins was that he stayed above politics.

In the party political sense, possibly. In the more meaningful sense of the word, there can't have been a President who has stayed less above politics than Michael D, as anyone who found his book When Ideas Matter in their Christmas stockings can attest.

This collection of presidential addresses, subtitled Speeches for an Ethical Republic, contains such enduring family favourites as Recovering the Promise of a Real Republic and The Future of Diplomacy in Conditions of Global Change and is peppered with his trademark exhortations to action against the manifold injustices of the capitalist system that generously pays his wages.

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