Thursday 20 September 2018

Why stalwart Higgins deserves seven more years as President

There's nothing really to be gained, and potentially a lot to lose, in running against President Higgins, writes Eoin O'Malley

Pushed the boundaries: President Michael D Higgins at Aras an Uachtarain
Pushed the boundaries: President Michael D Higgins at Aras an Uachtarain

Perhaps Sayre's Law is right; it's because the stakes are so low that people get so exercised by the Irish Presidency. The political campaign in the last presidential election in 2011 was about as bitter as anything we'd seen in Ireland since Saipan. The TV debate proved decisive, and it wound up in the courts.

Which should be surprising given that the Irish Presidency is not a significant political office - at least not formally. For the 2018 Presidential Election much of the vitriol directed at Michael D Higgins comes from some of the many people who've expressed an interest in running for the Presidency. But it looks unlikely that we'll have an election. And that may be no bad thing.

President Higgins hasn't yet confirmed that he will seek another term - despite earlier assurances that he'd be a one-term president. But his oblique references to his intentions are increasingly direct. Direct enough that Fianna Fail indicated last week that it would not run a candidate against Michael D.

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