herald

Friday 18 January 2019

An IRA thug comfy in the Aras and in charge of our army? I don't think so

I RECKON I'm speaking for many when I state that, with five weeks to go to the presidential election, I am terminally bored with the whole thing.

I'm sick to the back teeth of bids, quasi campaigns, rumours and denials.

At times the race has seemed more like a soap opera than a reasoned debate on who is best suited to assume office.

It's turned into a Lanigan's Ball, with people falling over themselves stepping in and out, and in again.

More of a Lanigan's balls-up in some cases -- Labhras O Murchu, I'm looking at you.

The unseemly scramble has already seriously damaged the standing and prestige of the highest office in the land.



BORING

To many of the thousands of voters under 30 this spectacle must seem an irrelevance.

I predict that many of this generation will simply ignore the election, staying away from polls in their droves. And who can blame them?

So far the candidates who are nominated have failed to inspire any interest. They are the same old crop of boring, middle-aged, conservatives.

For one I can't see a spark anywhere on the ballot.

Gay Mitchell is a decent, honest, hard worker. He's also a grey man, steady as she goes. He harks back to an older era of presidents, and it's not helped by his abrasive, tetchy personality.

In the left corner we have Michael D Higgins, the gaeilgeoir poet who's been around since God was a boy.

He's a harmless character, with the airs of absent minded professor. A genuine man - have no doubt - but does he embody the qualities of a 21st century, digital era president?

As for Fianna Fail - the less said the better.

Businessman Sean Gallagher doesn't bring much to the table. When I see him I don't think 'statesman'. Success on TV is not an automatic basis for a presidential career.

He also has a background in Fianna Fail, a toxic link.

As for Martin McGuinness, where do I start? His arrival is purely cynical, paving the way for his old gun pal Gerry Adams to get in next time round.

Do we really want an ex-terror leader to be head of our proud peacekeeping Defence Forces?

Our country often appears to be a basket case but surely we're not that insane?

He has blood on his hands. Do we really want such a man comfy in the Aras, limousined around with a garda and army escort? A man who tried to subvert this very State and until recently didn't even recognise the legitimacy of the gardai or army.

A man whose terror organisation gunned down our soldiers and police officers.

What would he do in the Aras? Entertain his old IRA pals. Lobby for an IRA pension of them?

This man aspires to be the guardian of our constitution? Jesus wept.

Elsewhere David Norris and Dana are poking around looking for nominations. Not a chance.

As for Dana -- nada. That's the amount of support she's going to get. Of the lot, Mary Davis emerges as most credible -- perhaps. Her Special Olympics work showed her capability, and she appears to have no political baggage.

But in the current ruinous state of our economy, do we really need a president?

It is a job devoid of any real power, surely the Taoiseach could convene a council of State, for example, instead of a president?

Is hand-shaking, tea-drinking or candle-lighting enough to get us out of our economic mess?

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