We need new ideas for what the Presidency can be

We need new ideas for  what the Presidency can be
President Michael D Higgins. ‘Long before his election [he] was rightly revered for his dedication to the arts . . . He has done this country proud’ Picture: PA

As Mary Robinson did years ago, it is time to reframe the soft but considerable power of this unique post for the modern age

President Michael D Higgins was elected in October 2011 with 56.8 per cent of the vote. I remember the 2011 campaign as having been particularly combative. Sean Gallagher, Mary Davis, David Norris and Dana all experienced the worst aspects of the campaign. As a candidate, Michael D Higgins emerged from the melee largely unscathed. Many are left wondering whether we really need another presidential election campaign like that. The office of president is supposed to be above the usual political sniping that we see, so why have recent races become so contentious?

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