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McAleese is a hard act to follow...

AFTER an often bruising Presidential campaign, election day is upon us. And it's vital that every citizen eligible to vote does so.

The office of President has always possessed constitutional importance. Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese have also elevated the position in ceremonial terms.

Therefore it's important that every voter consider their ballot carefully. Mrs McAleese will be a hard act to follow. She discharged her duties impeccably and her successor has a great deal to live up to. That is why the often critical media attention devoted to the candidates was so important.

Such scrutiny shone a light on each contender's background.

One of these, ex-IRA commander Martin McGuinness, showed his unsuitability for office by his ambiguous condemnation of terrorist atrocities.

A vote for McGuinness would serve to legitimise the IRA's 30-year campaign of murder.