The Presidential Election

The time has come to elect someone to replace Mary McAleese as President of Ireland. Personally, I feel we should just leave Mary in the job but that can’t happen. I have been paying close attention to this election. I’ve watched all the television debates, most of which were boring as hell and not sticking to the issue of the presidency. I know I don’t have a vote but, as a citizen of the Republic of Ireland I feel it is important for me to know what’s going on in our little country.

This year we have 7 candidates running. It is the highest number of candidates to run for the job. Here are the candidates:

Mary Davis, social entrepreneur, disability rights campaigner and best known as organiser of the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Ireland, was nominated by local Councils.

Seán Gallagher, entrepreneur, panellist on the Dragons’ Den television programme and former member of the Fianna Fáil National Executive, was nominated by local Councils.

Michael D. Higgins, former Minister and TD was selected by the Labour Party.

Martin McGuinness, deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland was selected by Sinn Féin, and received enough support from independent TDs to be nominated. He is a former member of the IRA.

Gay Mitchell, MEP and former TD was selected by Fine Gael.

David Norris, Senator, scholar and civil rights campaigner, was nominated by local Councils.

Dana Rosemary Scallon, former MEP and won the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest. She was nominated by local Councils.

The Presidential campaign has been a right dirty and controversial one with all the secrets of the candidates been brought out into the open. Martin McGuinness’ IRA past and David Norris’  seven letters he sent to the Israeli authorities seeking clemency for his former partner after he was convicted of the statutory rape of a young boy are just some of the sagas that have rigged this election.

From watching all the debates and reading everything about each candidate, I have come to the conclusion that none of them are fully worthy of the presidency. There is something wrong about them all. They all lack the secret ingredient. We have Mary Davis who says she is 100% independent and always has been. She also says she has no political party connections, yet she served on over 20 boards and was appointed by 2 different governments to serve on them. Plus she is an extremely unlikable person and talks waffle constantly! Dana is a very stubborn person. She has tried to get elected before and failed. It is clear from the presidential poles that she is not going to get the job. She has only managed on average to get 4% on the poles. Gay Mitchell is running for Fine Gael and is a boring kinda guy. I believe that only independents should get the role of presidency. The same can be said for Michael D.Higgins. He is running for Labour. I’m anti-Labour. I think they are a horrible party and their policies don’t add up. Martin McGuinness is running for Sinn Fein and is also a former member of the IRA. I don’t think he should get the job because he was a member of a terrorist organisation. Seán Gallagher is a very successful entrepreneur and has been a member of the Fianna Fáil National Executive. He only resigned from Fianna Fáil in January and it is said he only resigned because Fianna Fáil said they won’t be running a candidate. And finally David Norris. He is a scholar and civil rights campaigner. He played a key part of the overthrowing of the the anti-homosexuality law. Sadly he has too much controversy attached to him to become president.

If I did have the right to vote on the 27th of October, my vote would go to Seán Gallagher for the simple reason that he is an independent and is a well liked person. His background isn’t as bad as the rest of the cabbages that are running.

Steve

Advertisements

5 responses to “The Presidential Election

  1. Great post – very clearly written, logically structured and you present your arguments well without bashing any of the candidates.

    Am curious – what are your thoughts on the 7-year term of the presidency? Do you think that it should be shorter? Is the presidency still relevant for the country? Do you think that any of these candidates will augment the role and continue the growth started by some of the more recent presidents or do you think that they will return it to its more traditional figurehead status?

  2. Thanks.
    The role of president is a very pointless one but we do need one. We need a selected citizen to sign our bills and great foreign visitors. I do however think that the role of the president be expanded. We need value for our money. Most of the candidates have vowed to reduce the salary of the job. The current president got 200,000 a year. Which is a scandalous amount of money for the work she did. The new president should sit down with the taoiseach and see what they can do to spice up the role. The president has no power and no say in what happens. If the president wants to address the Dáil, their speech must be approved by the government first. I for one think this law should be changed. There are many good argument out there in favour of abolishing the presidency. Alot of money is spent on the president’s safety and stuff like that. The president can’t go to the shop without a police escort. I am in favour of having a president but I think the role of the president should be changed BIG time. Also the 7 year term is a long one. The presidential election is really the least most important one, so having it every 7 years isn’t bad. But I would support a debate about it. At the moment you could regard the job as a retiring home for politicians.

    What’s your views?

    Steve

    • One of the most important roles of the presidency is to act as a check-and-balance on the government. The Dail and Senate work together to pass bills but the President must sign it, and has the ability to send any bill to the Supreme Court where the President feels that the law is unconstitutional. That is a very important role because without it, the government would have close to absolute rule and we all know what happens when governments act like that. On the flip side, as you point out the ruling government gets to censor any speeches the President makes to them, which is the government’s check-and-balance on the President. Not sure you can eliminate the role completely though; given the structure of the Republic the role is very much needed, regardless of the limited power vested in it.

      But I do agree that 200,000 is an excessive salary for the position given the limited visibility of the role. President’s Robinson and McAleese have done excellent work in elevating the social standing of the role within Irish society and the next President should continue that trend and take it to the next level.

      • I do agree that the role of president is important and we do need one. But I do feel that the role of the President should be expanded. I think we should allow the President address the Oireachtas when they feel they need to. They are supposed to be representing all the people of Ireland after all. I don’t agree with the government having to read and approve of their statement before they make it. The government should give the President more independence and move of a voice. Michael D. Higgins has won the election so I guess it’s up to him to raise these issues personally with the government. His party are currently in coalition with Fine Gael so maybe we will see changes.

        Steve

Leave a Reply! Ah go on, go on. go on! You know you want to!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s