The race for the presidency


Sir, – Fintan O’Toole (“Why Irish presidents are the best in the world”, Opinion & Analysis, October 23rd) writes that President Michael D Higgins “is one of the very few heads of state anywhere who has delivered a sustained critique of neoliberalism and its consequences ... (instead) of the alternative: seven long years of vacuous blather”.

The record (confirmed by the President himself) is that he is a landlord, letting out a house at over €2,000 per month and which was purchased during the temporary capital gains tax amnesty, allowing its resale free of any tax.

This is classic neoliberal behaviour, using tax shelters available only to the well-off, maximising personal gain and minimising personal liability to taxation, despite his trenchant criticism of low-tax programmes in the 2016 election,

His pronouncements, in a profound sense, really are vacuous blather, since he does not live by them himself.

There is also the important issue of Mr Higgins reneging on his own firm commitment not to run again.

Fintan O’Toole writes that we should not be “cynical” about the presidency. Who would not be cynical when the incumbent breaks his own freely given commitments and is backed by three mainstream parties in doing so?

Of course The Irish Times will not print this letter, since it will not publish any criticism of Michael D Higgins despite he himself opening his personal attitudes to debate by publicly claiming recently that “material things are not important to me”. – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow .

Sir, – Whether Michael D Higgins decides to walk to Belfast, drive or “fly through the air with the greatest of ease”, I’ll be voting for him. – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.

Sir, – 2011: Michael D Higgins, candidate for the plain people of Ireland. 2018: President Michael D Higgins, candidate for the plane people of Ireland. – Yours, etc,



Co Donegal.

Sir, – I presume that presidential candidates Seán Gallagher and Liadh Ní Riada will wish to question Santa Claus as to why he chooses to travel by sleigh. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 4.

Sir, – President Michael D Higgins has done his utmost at promoting the image of Ireland during the past seven years. However, his obsession with the decade of centenaries and the implied belief that nobody else can handle them is a delusion. Some of those events are indeed best forgotten! – Yours, etc,



Co Roscommon.