Why even bother running against the incredibly popular Michael D?

There are six candidates contesting the Irish Presidential Election, which by my reckoning is about five too many. Michael D is expected to get about 2/3 of the votes which leaves the rest of them fighting a pointless race of irrelevance. To run for President takes several hundred thousand euro and despite it being a ceremonial role it tends to be a very vicious campaign. As the old joke goes, it is vicious because the stakes are so low. Now some … Read more

Should all Irish citizens around the world be given a vote in presidential elections?

Ireland is set to have a referendum on whether to allow all Irish citizens resident outside the state to vote in presidential elections. This has provoked a debate, with some fearing this could lead to a distant diaspora imposing a terrible unwanted president on residents of the country. Here’s why that is not going to happen Isn’t this a radical proposal? No. Currently, Ireland is radical in the other direction. Its lack of any provision for overseas voting is internationally … Read more

Adams damning McGuinness with faint praise..?

IT would have been easy for Gerry Adams to be fulsome in his praise of Martin McGuinness’ presidential campaign. Instead, the intro to Gerry Adams’ latest blog entry seems both ambiguous and odd – although the former may be politically ingrained and the latter blamed on his a faux folksy writing style. And – for a party as single-mindedly obsessed with expansionism as SF – not a word about the size of the vote. Here’s the first par, the one … Read more

Do normal people care what the Irish presidency is for?

I cannot think of another Head of State’s office where there is sometimes no competitive election, given a popular incumbent. It sort of happens because, like much else in the Irish state, it is in the gift of the country’s political class as to whether it is worth holding an election, or not. This is partly what’s been going on with Fianna Fail’s no show this time round. No chance of winning, no point running. Mary Regan in the Irish … Read more

Ó Muircheartaigh: “I never said I was interested in being a candidate”

GAA commentator Micháel Ó Muircheartaigh echoes Gay Byrne in ruling himself out of the race for the Áras.  From the Irish Times report Mr Ó Muircheartaigh last night announced that he would not be putting himself forward as a candidate but that he was honoured to be asked to run. Speaking this morning, Mr Ó Muircheartaigh (81) said he had been approached by members of a number of political parties – which he declined to name – but that he … Read more

Northern Ireland Exports Bees to Phoenix Park

Áras an Uachtaráin - residence of the Irish President, and soon to be home to Northern Irish bees

If you see anyone walking round Phoenix Park wearing a white hazmat suit, it’s probably not a sign that chemical warfare has broken out. Instead, it’s the Irish President’s gardeners practising their bee-keeping … all thanks to an export from Northern Ireland. There’s an orchard in the gardens of Áras an Uachtaráin, the Irish President’s residence in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, and from the apples they make mighty fine-tasting organic apple juice. Next year, the new Irish President will have the … Read more

Fianna Fail’s dilemma: Damned if they do, damned if they don’t…

NOT sure I believe that at this stage there is much to be gauged from opinion polls on the Irish Presidential election, but John Drennan’s write up on yesterday’s Sindo Poll, finishes with this intriguing remark: Meanwhile Fianna Fail’s plans to “tiptoe gently away” from the race are in serious danger of being scuppered by the belated entrance of Eamon O Cuiv into the frame. The grandson of the party’s founder Eamon de Valera has not formally requested the nomination … Read more

The feast of Columbanus accompanied by speeches from Lord Bannside & the Irish President

Irish President Mary McAleese with artist Ian Fleming

If you listened to Thought for the Day on Radio Ulster yesterday, you’d have been aware that Tuesday was the Feast of Saint Columbanus. The speaker described him as “a bit of a stirrer”. Which set the tone for the lunchtime celebration of Columbanus organised by the Ullans Academy in an East Belfast hotel and featuring speeches from academy president Dr Ian Adamson, Lord Bannside and the Irish President. As far as I can tell, the Ullans Academy is very … Read more