Five questions for the new (and previous) president of Ireland

OK, now that the debates are over and the names of the also-rains begin to fade from our memory and Michael D girds his loins for another seven years in the Phoenix Park, are there any outstanding questions?  Dozens, I expect. But here’s five of mine.

  1. Michael D Higgins clearly has the support of the majority who voted. However, he  has never properly explained, nor been pressed by journalists to explain,  why he said he would be a one-term president and then decided to become a two-term president. Why would a man give a commitment seven years ago and then contradict that commitment by running again? It’d be good to know.
  2. Many people say that Michael D is a man free from personal vanity or self-congratulation. They may be right. On the other hand, the President-elect has a framed copy of a poem on the wall his study at Aras An Uachtarain. It’s called ‘Betrayal’ and it’s written by Michael D Higgins. Is this the act of a modest man? It’d be good to know.
  3. The new (and old) president is expected to devote more time to the north during his second period in office. He spoke of doing so during the election campaign, describing his northern initiative as “Shared Ireland, Shared Island.” So does that include sharing the north-eastern part of Ireland with Britain? It’d be good to know.
  4. Will the president extend further invitations to royals to come visit him in the Phoenix Park? And if the answer is yes, as it well may be, how does this relate to Michael D’s life-long commitment to socialism? It’d be good to know.
  5. The Irish Times has done a survey which shows that, if Irish people living overseas had a vote, the majority of them would have voted for Michael D. Does the president-elect have any thoughts on extending the presidential franchise to his fellow-countrymen and women in the north next time round? It’d be good to know.


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