Michael D made the right decision – now get over it!
As far as I’m concerned, President Michael D Higgins was placed in a damned-if-he-did, and damned-if-he-didn’t situation the second that invitation to attend a ceremony called ‘marking the centenaries of the partition of Ireland and the foundation of Northern Ireland’ dropped through the Áras letterbox.
I’m clearly not Uachtarán na hÉireann, indeed I’m only an ordinary voter, however if I were invited to attend a gathering that celebrated, commemorated or honoured the partition of the island of Ireland, I’d also refuse to attend. Why? Because I’m a proud Irishwoman and I’d see it as an insult for anyone to ask me to publicly (or privately) endorse the division of my beloved country.
Furthermore, if DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson sees President Higgins’ refusal as being a ‘retrograde step’ then that’s not just tough, it’s jaw-droppingly naive of the man! I mean what head of state in their right mind would support a ceremony to mark a period of our history that almost paralysed us as a nation? It’s akin to being given a front row seat (with a bucket of popcorn thrown in) to watch a burglar invade your own home! But then again, I’m kind of sensitive when it comes to my country’s history, and the above is just my opinion folks, so don’t go drafting letters to the editor – he’s a busy man!
Besides, I have nothing but respect and high regard for my fellow countrymen/women living in the north of Ireland, and for those now living in County Roscommon. In fact, I fully understand how Michael D’s decision to decline the invitation may be viewed (by some) as having caused a difficult and delicate dilemma around the subject of reconciliation between the various traditions celebrated across our island. However (big picture), at least our President has taken the heat off the Government’s ‘Zapponegate’ shambles, so I’d say Simon Coveney should be jumping for joy and shaking Michael D’s hand right now!
Oh and while I’m at it, for those who are accusing Uachtarán na hÉireann of ‘snubbing the Queen’, will you all get a grip – he’s done no such thing! As far as I know, Queen Elizabeth didn’t send him the invitation, she was simply on the guest list with him. To my mind, Michael D has always been a gentleman who demonstrated the utmost respect when dealing with and when referring to our neighbours’ head of state – so get over yourselves.
As for former Taoiseach John Bruton…well, one would have to wonder why someone who hasn’t held any power since 1997 would suddenly decide to throw in his tuppence worth, when the smart thing to do here would be to shut up. You see, by alleging Michael D was in breach of Bunreacht Na hÉireann’s Article 13:9, Mr. Bruton has simply served to increase the sensitivities already dogging this matter. For the record, Article 13:9 states ‘the powers and functions conferred on the President by this Constitution shall be exercisable and performable by him only on the advice of the Government’.
Personally, I find Mr. Bruton’s interpretation of this Article to be preposterous for the simple reason that it appears he’s suggesting our President should be seen as an easily manipulated marionette whose every action should be coerced and controlled by others. How ridiculous!
The President made a decision John, he took a stand John, so do us all a favour and move on John! Better still, as you’re clearly on a quest to remain relevant, why not engage your energies in a justifiable crusade; preferably one which doesn’t involve you trying to interpret our country’s constitution.
Maura Higgins is not public property!
Well done to Maura Higgins for highlighting what I’d imagine was an extremely disquieting incident for her, one where the County Longford woman alleges a male stranger approached her, and using what she describes as “completely inappropriate behaviour”, grabbed her arm and pulled her towards a car. By calling out this toxic behaviour, Ms. Higgins has shown that she’s not just a pretty face (and luxury fake tanning collaborator), she’s also the owner of a powerful voice, one which, it must be said, holds the potential to influence young women when it comes to highlighting serious issues.
While I know reality shows like Love Island, etc., are, let’s be honest, surrounded by a culture that reduces women (and men) to sexualised objects, it’s imperative that viewers know that these contestants did not sign up to be sexually harassed, mauled or assaulted by anyone.
Maura Higgins is a human being, she’s not public property and there was no justification whatsoever for anyone to brazenly maul her. While you could argue that by placing herself in the spotlight and effectively selling her image, her persona, her status and her reputation in return for a pay cheque, she’s courting publicity and attention, that does not make her fair game. It simply makes her ‘Brand Maura’, and as much as I’m sure she knows her livelihood depends on both the public’s and the media’s interest in her, I’m certain she doesn’t enjoy being around creeps who feel they’re entitled to invade her personal space and touch her without her permission.
No room for hate-mongering, homophobic morons in a progressive society
Articles 40 to 44 of Bunreacht Na hÉireann set out our fundamental rights. This includes our rights to freely express our convictions and opinions, as covered under Article 40.6.1.i. In addition, under Article 40.6.1.ii we have a right to (and this is my loose interpretation, see John Bruton for a more literal explanation), assemble peacefully and without weapons, so long as we don’t breach the peace, or engage in meetings that are calculated or designed to cause a riot. So you get it, we all have a right to peacefully protest, and that’s wonderful!
However, as far as I’m concerned, the protest that took place outside ‘a residence in Dublin 8’ last weekend should not have ended ‘without incident’ – rather it should have ended with several arrests! Why? Because firstly, it took place outside of a private residence. Yes it was on a public street per se, however it was not carried out by citizens wishing to freely express their opinions, rather it was designed to cause hurt, abuse, intimidate and threaten two people.
These two people happen to be Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and his partner Matt Barrett, a same-sex couple who were subjected to what appears to have been a disgraceful, deliberate and shocking display of corrosive, homophobic viciousness peppered with a volley of ‘unfounded allegations about his (Leo’s) sexual orientation’.
I’m perfectly okay with people exercising their rights to protest peacefully, whatever their gripe. However, what I’m not okay with is debauched sickos ganging up on any person, or couple, no matter who they are, with a specific purpose to torment, intimidate, abuse and bully them just because of their sexual preferences.
In the interest of clarity, and for the sake of spelling it out for any hate-mongering, bigoted homophobic morons who believe it’s okay to ill-treat or name-call anyone in the LGBTQ+ community, let me remind you that homosexuality was decriminalised in this country on June 24th, 1993. Homophobia, transphobic harassment, hostility and violence are hate crimes, and all punishable by law. Got it? Good!