The race for the Áras

Sir, – I wish to fully reaffirm my own and the SDLP’s support for the re-election of President Michael D Higgins.

I would invite anyone who hasn’t made up their minds on this presidential election to read the civil rights lecture President Michael D Higgins delivered in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march which was beaten off the streets of Derry.

The President spoke for nearly 45 minutes and not alone captured those defining and tragic moments 50 years ago which would lead to the onset of our Troubles, but he was equally able to produce a narrative and an analysis of the wider historical tributaries which have shaped our political landscape for the last century. For everyone in attendance at Derry’s Guildhall that day, the sheer scale and scope of the lecture provided a perfect summation of just how fortunate we are to have him as our President.

At a time of such instability and consequence on this island, when the “totality of relationships” between Britain and Ireland are set to be reordered and renewed, those qualities of intellectual depth, insight and experience possessed by our President remain invaluable.


When far too much of our political discourse has been reduced to the level of simplistic, reactionary and visceral soundbite, Mr Higgins has in contrast elevated our expectation of the language and the depth of thought properly required for the duty of high office. – Yours, etc,


SDLP Leader,

SDLP Headquarters,

Ormeau Road, Belfast.

Sir, – If Michael D Higgins wants to keep working until he’s 84, fair play to him. But surely he, like the rest of us, deserves a well-earned break. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 8.

Sir, – Could someone please explain to Peter Casey that it is vision, not division, that the country needs. – Yours, etc,


Boyle, Co Roscommon.