The President and the Armagh event


Sir, – President Michael D Higgins has to be commended for his decision not to attend the politically-titled event in Northern Ireland.

It is refreshing to see a nuanced approach to all-island affairs, to remind us that they are not the sole preserve of physical force republicans and those who commemorate dead physical force republicans and their deeds.

The simplistic, and populist, “we must have a Border poll” agenda is not helpful. Our President has done us all a service.

– Yours, etc,


Windy Arbour,

Dublin 14.

Sir, – President Michael D Higgins says his reason for declining the invitation to the church service is due to the title of the event.

We are often told that it was dialogue that brought peace to Northern Ireland.

Therefore, in terms of our troubled history and the cherished objective of reconciliation on this island, is this matter not minor enough for his office to have resolved it through dialogue and quiet diplomacy with the event’s organisers, avoiding this unnecessary controversy?

Or were they just too good an opportunity for him to brandish his nationalist credentials ?

– Yours, etc,



Dublin 14.

Sir, – Meaning number seven of “ to mark” in the Macmillan Dictionary is “to celebrate something”.

Can we please close down this time-wasting discussion and, following all the useless diversions the political classes have engaged in, get to grips with the important issues facing this country, too numerous to list here but well known to all citizens. – Yours, etc,


Malahide, Co Dublin.

Sir, – The hypocrisy of unionist politicians in criticising President Michael D Higgins’s failure to attend a service marking the centenary of partition is breathtaking but not surprising.

How many of these unionist critics would, in the future, accept an invitation to attend a service, in Dublin, to mark an anniversary for the unification of Ireland? – Is mise,



Co Monaghan.

Sir , – The refusal to accept the invitation was undoubtedly correct and the President acted appropriately so it is regrettable that he subsequently acted in such an unpresidential verbal spat with former taoiseach John Bruton. – Yours, etc,


Rathmines, Dublin 6.

Sir, – In the course of our Vatican, Pope Francis described Michael D Higgins as a “wise man of today”.

Roma locuta, causa finita.

– Yours, etc,


Maynooth, Co Kildare.

Sir, – He is the President of Ireland. Therefore he should attend the centenary event to represent all of us on this island who value and respect his role.

When they met in 2014, he and Queen Elizabeth reflected their shared interest in Ireland in its every aspect. What a good job they made of it and to which we all could relate. Please Mr Higgins do not dilute that great success by using some of your political scientist semantics as a cover for your non-attendance.

Your predecessor achieved so much and I am sure she would have attended. You owe it to us all, North and South, and Queen Elizabeth deserves better. – Yours, etc,



Sir, – Michael D Higgins has proved by his actions that he is not the President of Ireland but President of the Republic.

Has he forgotten his subjects next door? – Le Meas,



Beal Feirste.

Sir, – If the title of the proposed event in Armagh is not a “neutral title” can I suggest that “President of Ireland” is not neutral either. – Yours, etc,



A chara, – When will the Catholic hierarchy ever learn the lessons of history? I support the President. – Yours, etc,



Co Fermanagh.