Judging by the general public’s mood, press concerns over the exorbitant – and sometimes unaccountable – spending of public monies by Michael D Higgins during his last seven years in office seems to have had little effect on his laidback campaign to get reelected to Áras an Uachtaráin. The former Labour Party TD and darling of the intelligentsia continues to outstrip his Sinn Féin and independent rivals in the polls. A situation undoubtedly helped by the slate of utterly uninspiring candidates facing the one-time antiestablishment politician and his refusal to talk in anything but sentimental platitudes when on camera (when he deigns to appear on camera in the first place). Even the latest revelations about his jetset lifestyle, albeit from one part of the country to another, is having minimal traction with an electorate surprisingly enamoured by the idea of reappointing an Ard Rí na hÉireann rather than an Uachtarán na hÉireann. From The Irish Independent:
President Michael D Higgins is to face more questions over a culture of “extravagance” in Áras an Uachtaráin after shifting the blame for flying to Belfast from the PSNI to his own officials.
Last week, he indicated that the decision was made on foot of consultations with the PSNI, which was not in a position to provide security for him to travel by road.
However, he has now said the Government jet, which costs €4,000 an hour to operate, was called on because of advice from his own officials.
The President was asked on three occasions to clarify on what basis the jet was deemed necessary but refused to answer.
However, PSNI sources separately told the BBC there was anger at the suggestion that the force did not have sufficient resources to provide a police escort.
But wait, there’s more, courtesy of The “Oirish” Sun:
A WOMAN whom Michael D Higgins lauded as his “gifted floral arranger” in 2014, went on a State visit to Australia with the President three years later, the Irish Sun has learned.
We have learned the 24-person delegation travelling Down Under last October included Laura Donegan, who was previously praised for her work with flowers.
The Office of the President has refused to tell us any more about her duties on the trip, which also saw Michael D and Sabina stop off in New Zealand.
And Higgins’ Aras spokesman did not respond when asked who paid for the trip or what Ms Donegan’s function was while there.
Michael D, he so gangsta…