Higgins inauguration to take place on evening of November 11th

Taoiseach grants President’s request for delay while Armistice Day ceremonies take place

President Michael D Higgins is due to be inaugerated at midday on November 11th. Photograph: EPA

President Michael D Higgins is due to be inaugerated at midday on November 11th. Photograph: EPA

 

The inauguration of Michael D Higgins for his second term as President is to be delayed by six hours so that Government Ministers can attend events in France commemorating the centenary of the first World War ending.

A spokesman for Mr Higgins on Friday night said it was not envisaged that the President would attend the events in Paris, which some 60 world leaders including German chancellor Angela Merkel, US president Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin are also due to take part in.

Mr Higgins ceases to be head of State from midnight on November 10th and the Presidential Commission - made up of the the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Ceann Comhairle of the Dáil and the Cathaoirleach of the Seanad - will stand in during the interregnum period.

It was planned that he would be inaugurated for his second term at midday on November 11th, but he asked that those who wished to attend Armistice Day commemorations that morning be facilitated.

The President announced on Friday that he had written to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar offering to postpone his inauguration until later on November 11th. Shortly afterwards an email was sent to members of the Oireachtas from the Taoiseach’s office stating that the inauguration would take place at 6pm.

“The presidential inauguration ceremony will take place on Sunday 11th November 2018 at 6pm in St Patrick’s Hall, Dublin Castle,” the message said. “This will be followed by a reception in the same venue with guests invited for 8.30pm. Invitations to both events with detailed information notes will issue next week.”

The Armistice Day ceremony is due to begin at 11am in Paris (10am Irish time), which would have made it impossible for any member of the Government to attend it and the inauguration as it was initially schedueled.

In a statement, Áras an Uachtaráin said: “The date of the inauguration coincides with the centenary of the Armistice which signalled the end of the first World War, and the President, conscious of the desire of many Irish people to participate in morning commemoration ceremonies, and of the invitations to members of the Government to represent the State at ceremonies abroad, has asked for these special circumstances to be borne in mind in the arrangements.

“In a change to the normal procedure, the President has asked the Government to make the arrangements for the inauguration ceremony for the evening of November 11th so as to accommodate all of those who wish to mark the cessation of hostilities and to remember the Irish men and women and all those who lost their lives or were wounded during World War I.”