The race for the Áras


Sir, – As one of the mothers who attended the “Latch On” morning hosted by the President Michael D and Sabina Higgins, to mark the start of National Breastfeeding Week, I wish to challenge the implication in the editorial (October 4th) that the event could be perceived as serving a political purpose. The event has been held annually for the past four years and each time the President and his wife addressed the gathering. National breastfeeding week runs in the first week of October every year. It is not a matter of contrived scheduling on the part of the Áras or the President. The mothers and fathers who attended were heartened that the President and Mrs Higgins have shown commitment to promoting greater levels of breastfeeding in Ireland.

This is an important cause, given the well-documented health, emotional, economic and environmental benefits. Unfortunately, there is too little positive coverage in the media to ensure mothers have the encouragement and supports they need to made informed choices.

It is unfair to ignore the primary purpose of the occasion. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 7.

Sir, – In his campaign thoughts so far, presidential candidate Peter Casey reminds us (News, October 3rd) of the power of those 75 million Irish people around the world if they could be mobilised for Ireland’s economic and social development: “If we connected the dots that could make a huge difference. We have the technology to connect the Irish like never before, through social media, big data analytics.”

Maybe Mr Casey is running for the wrong office. When someone with his world business experience comes along with an idea like that, for which he is not looking for a salary, then we should think of creating a new office of honorary vice-president to connect with the Irish diaspora. I am sure a home and office could be found for him in the Phoenix Park – say in Farmleigh House beside the Áras and the US ambassador’s house.

Then we would have two lights burning in the big houses of Phoenix Park for the Irish abroad.

There are many of us who don’t like the proposal of giving the presidential vote to all the Irish abroad because it would numerically outnumber those living and voting on this island. In the same way that the president appoints a Council of State, could we not create a new office of vice-president on the nomination of the president to serve as a voice and a facilitator for the Irish living abroad? – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.