People often consider the President as nothing more than a figure head whose purpose is to promote Irish tourism, but the President has a crucial part to play in our democracy and this shouldn’t be downplayed.
Every Bill must be signed by the Irish President before it can become law. Although the President can’t veto a Bill they can refer it to the Supreme Court or stand down in moral objection. That is why it is essential we vote for a president who represents our values, to give a message to the Government that we value our healthcare and that we demand social & affordable housing.
Choosing the right President can be the difference in fundamental changes in Irish society. For example do you think that Pearse Doherty would have silently signed the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Act 2013. The Act allowed for the immediate liquidation of IBRC (formerly Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society), which crystallised promissory (bank) debt into sovereign debt and ultimately resulted in billions of euro in loans being sold off at a heavy discount. The Act was passed in an emergency sitting of the Dail without opposition receiving a copy of the Bill prior to the debate.
Or do you think Paul Murphy as president would have agreed to sign the Water Services Act 2014 creating the failed Irish Water monopoly which has plagued Irish politics ever since.
I also doubt very much that our former President Mary McAleese would remain as silent on the cervical check scandal which has been handled in the most inhumane manner by this Government.
Call me cynical if you like but the last thing I want is a puppet President who continues to support this confidence and supply Government, they couldn’t be more wrapped up in the financial crash and Garda Corruption. On the advice of the Government the President appoints the governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, the members of the Irish Financial Services Appeals Tribunal, the Ombudsman, and the members of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission. Imagine what Maurice McCabe or Jonathan Sugarman would have to say about these appointments if either of them were President.
Of course there is suitable compensation for being complicit with the Leo-liberal rascals in power. The annual salary of the President of Ireland is no less than €250,000 plus expenses and not to forget that golden handshake, an annual pension in excess of €120,000 a year.
The cost of running an election is nothing compared to the cost of turning a blind eye to the problems we face as a society. We should be electing a President that will stand with the people, a President with a mandate to hold the Government accountable. Don’t take the office f President for granted, let’s hear what the candidates have to say.
Image by Harry Burton @HBtoons