President explains double-jobbing rule


The students at Booth Memorial High School wanted to know how the President managed her two very special jobs, Head of State and mother.

During an Internet link with Tramore CBS in Waterford, from where many of the emigrants to this part of Canada came, Mrs McAleese told them. She had been doing it for years, she said, and had got used to juggling.

It was most important to have a back-up team at home and she had her father-in-law, who had been living with them for 16 years, and her housekeeper. The children missed their parents, she said, but she and her husband rang them every day and they seemed to be enjoying themselves in spite of, or maybe because of, their parents' absence.

It was the last morning of the President's State visit to Canada. During the link-up she talked to pupils in the two schools.

She spoke about the flight from Newfoundland to Connemara by Alcock and Brown, and of the laying of a telegraphic cable between Valentia in Kerry and Hearts Content, Newfoundland. That very morning they were seeing the huge advances in technology since then.

At a lunch given by Senator Al Graham, the leader of the government party in the Senate, the President said that Canada, like Ireland, had been preoccupied with questions of nationality and identity. "We in Ireland, for a long time, attempted to imagine ourselves as something other than what we were, an attempt which was destined to fail and which had an alienating effect on those elements of our identity which were excluded.

"It is fair to say that both of the great Irish traditions erred in this regard.

"The relationship between Ireland and Newfoundland, the place where the Irish presence in Canada began and which was the site of the first landings by Europeans in North America 500 years ago, was not only a matter of kinship. It had, and ought to have practical consequences," Mrs McAleese said.