The road to the Áras

A chara, – I was delighted to hear of moves to nominate Eamon Ó Cuív as a candidate for the presidency of Ireland. In contrast to some of the joke candidates that are emerging and withdrawing on an almost daily basis, Mr Ó Cuív would be a serious contender for the job, bringing gravitas, experience, competence and depth to both the campaign and the presidency, were he to win.

Fianna Fáil’s plummeting poll numbers reflect the fact that, under Micheál Martin, it no longer stands for anything, except perhaps the pursuit of power by whatever means are necessary. It has no discernible political programme to distinguish itself from its rivals in Fine Gael, and you would not even need a full hand to count the number of competent spokespeople on its front bench.

In light of this shocking dearth of policy and ability, you would think that the former “national movement” would jump at the chance to contest the presidency, but for the second election in a row the party is running scared.

Eamon Ó Cuív should enter the race as a broad-based candidate – getting the nomination of both Fianna Fáil and other councillors, running as an independent republican, and for good measure given the centenary that’s in it, seeking the support of Sinn Féin. He just might win. – Is mise,



Dublin 2.

Sir, – Responding to criticism from animal protection groups, presidential hopeful Gavin Duffy denies that carted stag hunting was a blood sport on the basis that very few stags were killed ("Duffy defends hunting role as he seeks presidential nomination", News, July 30th).

What he fails to acknowledge is that the whole purpose of the practice (banned in 2010 despite a massively funded PR campaign to save it by pro-hunt groups) was to maximise the “thrill of the chase” for the hunters and hunt followers and ensure that the same stags could be chased and traumatised again the following week or later in the season.

Gavin Duffy may be a great businessman and engaging TV personality but I believe his support for carted stag hunting and fox hunting can only damage his presidential bid.

As the Dragon himself used to say: I’m definitely out! – Yours, etc,



Co Kilkenny.

Sir, – I read that Gavin Duffy has promised to run the “most modern, dynamic, interactive campaign” (News, July 30th).

I am unable to shelve the suspicion that the world’s quota of tweeting presidents has been temporarily exceeded. – Yours, etc,



Sir, – Elections are the most fundamental part of any democracy.

A presidential election should be held, despite the cost involved, to show Ireland is a vibrant and modern democracy. People across the world would be glad of this right, and putting a price on democracy risks marginalising an office which has very important functions.

While the presidency may be largely ceremonial, it is crucial that somebody with a clear mandate is elected every seven years.

The days of a coronation are over. The Irish people deserve a say. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 14.