Well that was a bit of a waste. With the incumbent, Michael D Higgins, refusing to attend last night’s presidential candidates’ debate on RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live, and with the crypto-Fianna Fáil nominee Seán Gallagher consequently following suit, the televised event was pretty much a wash. Sure, there were a few interesting moments, mainly down to some heckles from the audience, but otherwise it was a bland affair with everyone on their best behaviour. Sinn Féin’s Liadh Ní Riada adopted the most professional pose of the four attendees, outshining her rivals, Peter Casey, Gavin Duffy and Joan Freeman. Though it was pretty obvious that the MEP had gone through some intense, stick-to-the-message pre-debate tutoring.
That said, Ní Riada’s admission that she would wear a Royal British Legion Poppy while attending annual events to commemorate the Armistice or the formal end of the First World War was a surprise, albeit a rather unpleasant one. Frankly picturing the President of Ireland wearing a symbol honouring Britain’s militarist and imperial past makes me very uneasy, whatever the occasion. There is a highly questionable history and message behind that symbol and one which has partly manifested itself in the Brexit madness gripping our neighbours to the east. But then again, there are going to be many uneasy things we’ll have to accept after reunification if we are going to successfully accommodate the complex loyalties of the unionist minority on the island. So I suppose it’s better to start now rather than later, however queasy it makes one.
As for Michael D Higgins, his decision not to appear before the nation to discuss the merits of his time in office and his candidacy for reelection illustrates how far he has strayed from his man-of-the-people origins. The only contribution he made to the TV debate last night was a message sent in by his PR team to rebut some of the criticisms made of him by the other candidates, which was read out live on-air. I may have voted for Higgins in 2011 but I doubt that I will be voting for him again. The former Labour Party TD and his online groupies have adopted a rather repugnant attitude in recent months, a supercilious highhandedness as if offended by the very idea of the Great Leader having to contest his second term in office.
Someone should tell the Higginistas that we live in an Irish republic not a banana republic.
” the President of Ireland wearing a symbol honouring Britain’s militarist and imperial past makes me very uneasy” – Agree Seamas.
Could also add “the President of Ireland wearing a symbol honouring wholescale slaughter of irish, brits, germans, Italians, Austrians, french and so forth . . .” makes me feel sick
I detest the “Poppy” symbol as it indicates the need for charity donations because the Brits will not even look after their own veterans and ex-servicemen properly. If they did, there would be no need for poppy appeals.
I detest the “bullying” mindset that dictates “Poppies shall be worn, everywhere and anywhere for as long as possible to display conformity with the Unionist mindset”
Finally, have a look at what actually happened to Catholic ex-British servicemen in the North, over and over again from WWI onwards
https://polldaddy.com/js/rating/rating.jsLondonDerry as a SF member referred to it some time back. SF the new FF in waiting…
As the poppy also commemorates those who slaughtered us over the past 800+ years, it doesn’t just make me feel uneasy about an Irish president wearing it, it infuriates me. Maybe I am just old, but I can’t think of any republican my age who I know who is not staunchly opposed to that symbol. Just think if the border blows up again, those falling killing us then will be remembered in the same fashion. It is too easy to come up with an alternate symbol to honour those who fell defending freedom (many of who were Irish) apart from those who enforced the ultimate oppression of so many people throughout the “Empire”. I find it astonishing in a time where so much attention is placed on past atrocities virtually anywhere else in the world, that those committed against us are so easily discarded and omitted. I find it even more shocking that now representatives of SF are willing to be complicit in glossing over them. You once posted an article about the “slave mind”, invoking the victim mentality of continuous submission. It almost seems that our representatives are ashamed of us having been so horribly subjugated, and instead of standing up and calling it to the attention of our former and still tormentor that these acts are even now mostly unresolved every chance they get, they are willing to quietly and humbly genuflect to the Queen. The president’s role (at least in part and in my opinion) is to stand up for our country and people and cause the stir when necessary. It’s going to be tough to vote in this one.
All the knockers and begrudgers of SF over the years must’ve been right. Absolute cringeworthy is what theyve become. If this is in some way an attempt to seduce those of a unionist persuasion then it is insulting……..to unionism I.e they arnt that Fkn stupid! Jesus wept.