Michael D Higgins, President for life – and nine other losers who need not apply

Bertie? A Healy Rae? ‘That eejit Bono’? A better bet is a basket of cuddly kittens

During their official trip to Dublin Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visited Áras an Uachtaráin to meet with President Michael D. Higgins, where they also met his dogs Bród and Síoda. Video: Reuters


Michael D Higgins has always been our President. I remember him being President when I was a boy and my mother remembers him as President when she was a girl and there are photos of him being President with Daniel O’Connell and carvings of him in Newgrange being president with Cú Chulainn.

A poet, an Elvish speaker (editor’s note: I think you mean Irish?), a mage, always accompanied by his canine familiars (two bewitched civil servants named Bród and Síoda), some argue that Michael D should continue being President forever.

However, there is a sickness in the land and some people – scowling, twisted, finger-pointing people who support the English soccer team and hate chubby babies and like the music of Maroon 5 – say we should replace him nonetheless because of “democracy”, even though we tried that and, frankly, it was just okay.

Even if someone else could make it through the process of becoming president (*checks the Citizens Information website*) by climbing Mount Fire and out-riddling the wicked centaur who lives there or, alternatively, by guessing Michael D’s true name, they would still need to be incredibly, supernaturally delightful.

Because the President is the person whose job it is to reflect our own benign self-image back at us like a smiley fluffy-haired mirror. He endorses our sense of ourselves as vaguely left-wing, tolerant, kind-hearted sounders. And most importantly, he reflects that self-image in a consequence-free, symbolic fashion, freeing us up to make grouchier right-wing choices when we’re voting on an actual government, who might otherwise ask us to pay cash money to make the world a better place (we’re no suckers!).

As far as I can tell – and, remember, I haven’t read a newspaper in years – this system works fine.

Anyway, I’ve done the best I can to assemble some potential presidential candidates to help you see why Michael D should never leave us to join the rest of the elves and why we should be allowed live with him forever in his gardens which are paradise.

Bertie Ahern

“Hyuk hyuk!” declares Bertie. “You can’t catch me I’m the best boy in all of Fianna Fáil! ” Bertie is the type of person who was made for the presidency back in the days when the presidency was a present you got from The Lads in a whip round. Nowadays, however, the big bold head on him wouldn’t quite fit the role no matter how many peace processes he did. We’d constantly be having to say, “Bertie, what have you done now?” and he’d start shifting from foot to foot, before finally absconding over the wall uttering the words that open this section.

Mary McAleese (again)

I know she’s done it before, and we liked her inclusive attitude and softly forceful activism, but now with her outspoken jabs at the Catholic hierarchy she seems a lot more fighty. Let’s give her another shot. Her PR photo could be herself holding a bishop in a headlock. I’d be all in for this one, to be honest.

A Healy Rae

It won’t be one of the big ones like Michael or Danny, as the presidency of Ireland is a smaller, less prestigious gig than representing Kerry. No, it will more likely be one of the minor Healy-Rae-lings, who is, as we speak, incoherently waffling about climate change and the community importance of drunk-driving at a council meeting. We won’t vote for them. The job will be gifted to them after Michael finds an obscure loophole in a local government statute or they’ll accidentally be the only contractor who tendered. “How did this happen?” we’ll ask as the Healy-Raeling drives its limo by the zoo, a couple of pints of Guinness on the dashboard, a dead deer strapped to the bonnet, and a brand-new sign for the gates in the boot. “Very North Kerry” it says.

Miriam O’Callaghan

I think in retrospect the turning point for the 2018 presidential election will turn out to be the Frost/Nixon-esque interview Prime Time presenter Miriam O’Callaghan will do with presidential candidate Miriam O’Callaghan.

“Thank you for coming, Miriam,” Miriam O’Callaghan will say.

“My pleasure, Miriam,” Miriam O’Callaghan will say.

“I think I’m going mad,” the nation will say, but will then add: “But I also feel like Miriam O’Callaghan is very presidential. And it was, I have to say, a very tough interview by Miriam O’Callaghan. I’ve a lot to think about. Do they do it with mirrors or what, like with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael?”

President-tron 3000

We all see where things are headed with Trump and Cambridge Analytica and general algorithmic social media manipulation. Yes, we’re going to eventually have a robot president. Now this could be fun if it’s a robot like Twiki from Buck Rogers or Number Five from the Short Circuit films. However, it’s more likely to be an evil computer like the one in Harlan Ellison’s I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream or the Facebook algorithm or Elon Musk or that malfunctioning laptop I had for a year in 2016. Ah, it’ll probably be fine. This last sentence is also, incidentally, the Irish state’s contingency plan for all crises.

Enya singing Orinoco Flow

As a symbol of Ireland there is none better really than Enya singing Orinoco Flow. However, I don’t think Enya has what it takes to be president on her own. Therefore, I think she needs to sing the song all the time. All of her campaign speeches and interviews will come in the form of the words and tune of Orinoco Flow. Surely, says you, we’ll get sick of it after a while? No, we won’t. It’s a solid gold banger and, quite frankly, it’s as reasonable a political platform as any else I’ve heard this millennium.

‘That eejit Bono’

Running with a slogan he got from my Dad, Bono runs a surprisingly good campaign by leaning into local begrudgery. Other slogans used, include: “Bono: what’s he shite-ing on about now?” and “Actually, you know what? Zooropa isn’t too bad.”

A charismatic toddler in a sash

His name is “2019” and he will take the limelight as Michael D walks off with his scythe over his shoulder. Wait, am I getting the presidency mixed up with “Old Father Time?” I think I am. Sorry about that.

A basket of adorable kittens

This is the only candidate with any real hope of winning against Michael D, the people’s prince. Look at that basket of adorable kittens. Isn’t it completely delightful? Now for the bad news – the basket of adorable kittens doesn’t believe in vaccinations. Also, the basket of adorable kittens has used tax-payers money to hire its brother as a constituency secretary. Also, the basket of adorable kittens is terribly racist. However, I think if we can steer the press’s focus away from all this and on to all the work the basket of adorable kittens has done helping (white) teenage measles victims, we’re in with a chance.

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