The Áras: Nice Job If You Can Get It But There’s A Long Queue
Deaglán de Bréadún
The way things are going, it will soon be easier to list the people who are NOT running for President than those who are. There is a bit of a race on for the Fine Gael nomination and Labour will be deciding on Sunday June 19th.
In addition there are Independents such as David Norris, Mary Davis, Sean Gallagher and, latterly, Niall O’Dowd. Have I left anyone out?
Looks like Pat Cox is planning to join FG in the hope of being their nominee. Gay Mitchell and Mairead McGuinness supporters won’t like that – but will be far too nice to use the word “blow-in”, made famous in political circles by Liam Cosgrave all those years ago. I think he was referring to the late Garret FitzGerald. Meanwhile, the name of John Bruton continues to be bandied about.
The Labour contest is interesting: Michael D. versus Fergus Finlay versus Kathleen O’Meara. Three coins in the fountain, as it were. Which one will the fountain choose?
David Norris was going great guns after his bravura performance on the convening of the new Seanad, then came in for sustained artillery fire over his Magill interview with Helen Lucy Burke, the content of which he disputes. Too early to say whether this controversy will sink his campaign without trace, it certainly isn’t helpful.
The Presidency is a very prestigious job, well-paid, nice accommodation, lots of foreign travel and optional workload, i.e., you can work really, really hard or you can do the standard amount and then go and play golf.
Not that one would dare suggest any of the names mentioned would be seeking the position for the above reasons, but it’s a helluva number all the same. Any other suggested nominees? I suspect some of our Blog contributors would only love it …
At the same time, it would be wrong to be cynical. Virtually all of the names mentioned here are people who have given much public service and, knowing many of them personally, I can attest that they are worthy individuals who would do the office proud.
There has been a tendency to exaggerate the role of the President. Historians tell us that De Valera and his associates were anxious to prevent a situation arising where a home-grown Hitler or Mussolini could take supreme power and this is one of the reasons the scope of the office is fairly limited. Presidents are meant to be above politics.