HM’s rep to Prez: “…do whatever you like, they all do anyway, she’s a professional, it won’t bother her…”

H/T to Jude for pointing me at a little gem for the weekend. He starts by quoting from Mary McAleese’s address to the the Royal Edinburgh Society, and he highlights this little gem: “I don’t do that. I don’t kiss bishops’ rings, I don’t curtsey to popes and I don’t curtsey to monarchs. It is part and parcel of the make-up, the strong egalitarian sense that runs through me”. “Neither do an awful lot of us, Mary”, says Jude. But … Read more

From #aras97 to #aras11: has the media decommissioned?

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

Some more of the commentary on the 1997 Presidential campaign. While many new media tools are available for #aras11, the behind-the-scenes briefing and leaks are probably no different (the end products are summarised here by Mick). While politics inevitably includes a deep interrogation of individual candidate’s past utterances, the contribution of the media to the shape of past election campaigns tends to be kept below the radar by the, eh, media. Similarly, northern commentators, for long briefed by the NIO and security ‘sources’, don’t tend to be reflective when it comes … Read more

#aras11: If I am wrong about my own people, then so be it.

Rather than merely add to the growing fascination with Martin McGuinness on here, I fished this out of The Irish Times archive. The comments below are the main substance of an article entitled “Why Mary McAleese must be stopped: In a reply to his critics, Eoghan Harris sets out his reasons for trying to block Mary McAleese’s campaign for the Presidency” which was published on the 24th October 1997 (in The Irish Times), with the election six days later. I’m not suggesting you should make … Read more

“the crowning moment in the peace process”?

Both Buckingham Palace and the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, have announced the itinerary for the State visit of Queen Elizabeth II to Ireland, from Tuesday 17th to Friday 20th May.  The first by a UK monarch since 1911. The programme will include a formal welcome by President McAleese at áras an Uachtaráin, a ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance, a courtesy call on the Taoiseach at Government Buildings and a State dinner in Dublin Castle, at which both The Queen and … 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