The stance adopted by President Michael D Higgins can feed into reflection, even if he has retreated from the scene.

castle, ruin, exit

It’s unusual for the DUP, and other Unionists for that matter, to be exercised at the non-visit of a President of Ireland. The reaction sounds like a mixture of genuine disappointment, wounded vanity and point-scoring. In the case of the DUP, glass houses come to mind. Whatever the reason, the nature of the clamour achieves little and has launched a tirade of sniping political comment on social media. This is something which Archbishop Eamon Martin, shortly after the low-key launch …

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Eastwood: Michael D Higgins A President For Us All

The SDLP Leader, Colum Eastwood writes for us about why he’s backing Michael D. Higgins for a second term as President of Ireland As we enter into the final week of the presidential campaign, I wish to fully reaffirm my own and the SDLP’s support for the re-election of President Michael D Higgins. As a party, we have been privileged to know and to work with Michael D Higgins over the course of some 40 years. Throughout that period he …

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Sinn Féin’s Presidential Candidate Appears to Distance Herself from the Party

Liadh Ní Riada, Sinn Féin’s nominee for the upcoming Irish Presidential election has appeared to distance herself from her party in much of her campaign material. This includes Ní Riada’s election posters which have begun to appear on lampposts around the country and include no indication of her affiliation to the party she currently represents in the European Parliament for the constituency of Ireland South. The colour scheme of the posters, mainly purple and white, also does not hold connotations …

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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 …

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British Irishman, not a Black and Tan

In the Ireland of 2016 the British community (Protestant and unionists) still carry the curse of plantation, Cromwell, the famine, the Black and Tans and one-party rule Stormont. (Read ‘Being a planter‘ here.) The Protestant and unionists are the villains, by birth levied and vilified with historical wrong. Catholic is Erin and virtue, Protestant is Saxon and guilt. When Americans think of Britain they think of Monty Python or Downton Abbey. When the French think of Britain they think of …

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President Higgins pulls out of City Hall Dinner

President Higgins has pulled out of the civic dinner to be held at Belfast City Hall to commemorate the Easter Rising. However according to the Irish News; It is understood the fact the occasion has not garnered enough cross-party support, with a number of unionists declining invitations, motivated the president’s decision to stay away. Commenting about the decision, Lord Mayor Arder Carson said; I am extremely disappointed that the President is no longer attending this event, part of our Decade …

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Cartoon – Mission accomplished

Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here: http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/ www.brianjohnspencer.com/

“That’s the only way I can put,” he said “they sleep with the victims.”

I was struck by Michael D Higgins’ interview with the BBC’s Fergal Keane: He said he could not ask the families of victims to put the past behind them. Society could not afford to wipe out the memory of violence, he said. “I think that there is very significant work to do,” he said. “Affecting a kind of amnesia is of no value to you. You are better to honestly deal with the facts that are standing behind you as …

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Michael D and the Queen are just “what you need on occasions like this…”

There’s a ton of good comment on Nuzhound re Michael D’s state visit to the United Kingdom [makes a change from the single transferable column much in evidence at home this week – Ed]. It’s hard to know what to leave out of John Spain’s column for IrishCentral, so here goes: The plain people of Ireland, however, are far less impressed by all the hype about the visit. Judged by the reaction on newspaper websites and Twitter, they regard the …

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Cartoon – The Statesman

Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here: http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/ www.brianjohnspencer.com/

“If elected president, does Mr Higgins plan to expand the review section?”

In his Irish Times’ Irishman’s Diary Frank McNally pre-empted John’s complaint with some questions about Irish Presidential candidate Michael D Higgins’ dubious past.  From the Irish Times As the presidential campaign grew dirtier, it was inevitable that, sooner or later, somebody would raise the poetry issue. No surprise that the somebody was Gay Mitchell. The Fine Gael man is politically descended from a long line of philistines, including Kevin O’Higgins, who established an early precedent for this kind of thing …

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Michael D, the Government candidate: entitlement and #aras11.

This evening saw the latest in the seemingly endless set-piece ‘debates’ between the Presidential candidates. And it showed up the first significant flaw in the campaign of Michael D Higgins, who has, by and large, been alone in being given a free run in the media thus far. Tonight’s debate was chaired by Matt Cooper and broadcast live on Today FM (you can catch up on it by listening back to The Last Word from today on here). The clamour for US-style debates in Irish and British electoral campaigns began a few years ago but …

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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 …

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