President Higgins and housing

In a recent podcast with Pat McArt, I suggested that President Michael D Higgins, while he possesses intelligence, eloquence and insight, is a man who is very aware possessing these attributes.   Pat in his good-natured way made a reference to people who never passed a mirror they didn’t like.

So that’s me laying my cards on the table re Michael D – he’s smart, aware, even poetic, but sometimes he speaks when he’d have been better not to.

The present moment is one such. The people on RTÉ’s politics programme this morning spoke of him maybe crossing the line between being President and being involved in politics. Michael D has added his voice to the many who have been saying that the state of housing in the south is scandalous, with people simply unable to afford to buy – or rent – somewhere to live.

Will his voice make a difference? Maybe, but I doubt it. It’s just a teensy bit like Lady Bountiful doing good deeds among the deserving poor. What Michael D has said is of course true, but the fact that Michael D and his wife live in a house with 95 rooms doesn’t add to the strength of his argument.  In fact it’s a diversion from the main topic – housing for ordinary people – but it does raise the question of why the Irish President needs to live in such spacious accommodation. Yes, yes, other presidents, prime ministers, ambassadors live in equally sumptuous accommodation, and the house for Michael D came with the job. But if you live in a glass house, you maybe should be careful about what stones you throw.

Comments are closed.