Oliver Callan: Michael D Higgins should get a second term
His promise to serve a single term was a mistake, a result of unjust focus on his age
President Michael D Higgins: it’s hard to think of someone more suited to serve the next seven years, as the State celebrates the centenary of the War of Independence and the Civil War. Photograph: Frank Miller
Political leaders opening the way for President Michael D Higgins to seek a second term without election risk diminishing the relevance of the office and highlight the many ways it is undemocratic. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar appeared to be generously offering no opposition if the First Citizen wanted to stay in the Áras for another seven years.
Neither Fine Gael nor Fianna Fáil can afford the folly of a presidential campaign while they remain on general election standby. For Varadkar, it also usefully stymies any notions his frenemy Enda Kenny might have for the highest office. Shane Ross is also opposed to running someone against Michael D as his Independent Alliance faces judgment on their time in power. This political dynamic effectively declares a disinterest in the office of the president. It’s a shame, because it’s in need of reform.