Five things about the Michael D brouhaha

OK then – let’s get this Michael D Higgins thing into perspective.

  1. Unionist anger at President Higgins’s rejection of an invitation to attend a church service in Armagh ‘marking’ the partition of Ireland and the creation of Northern Ireland is partly fuelled by shock. Normally the Irish President, like most establishment figures in the south, is falling over himself to make nice with unionism.
  2.  President Higgins’s rejection of this invitation on the grounds that it is political is like saying Covid can kill. Of course it’s political. The church service would be political if only the church higher-ups were attending, with never a politician in sight. By its occurrence it tells the rest of us how we should act: come together, set aside past differences, make nice.
  3. President Higgins has either a proud or a pathetic record of concern with injustice. It is a recorded fact that he has been a long-time champion of human rights, peace and justice in such places as Nicaragua, El Salvador and Cambodia.  That is a proud record if you focus on Nicaragua, El Salvador and Cambodia, all three faraway places. It is a pathetic record if you consider the fact that human rights, peace and justice were required over many decades in the north of Ireland (yes, Virginia, just a few miles up the road) and Michael D Higgins was, to the best of my knowledge, thunderously silent about such abuses in NEI.
  4. A poll has found that 81% ofpeople in the south think Higgins has done the right  thing by refusing this invitation to ‘mark’ the establishment of  Northern Ireland. As someone said on RTÉ this morning, it’s like  getting an invitation from your ex- to come to a party celebrating  – oh, OK, marking  – your break-up, and then your ex- gets all annoyed when you don’t come.
  5. Even my cat laughed when Jeffrey Donaldson came on TV and said the Armagh event had nothing to do with politics and he was disappointed in Michael D. Here’s the leader of a political party talking about the response of an Irish head of state and former politician, and saying it all has nothing to do with politics. Is it total eejits you take us for, Jeffrey?
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