In their editorial on Monday the Irish Independant claims that having a Presidential election would just be, well - read it.
No need for an election
In a series of excellent presidents, Mrs McAleese stands out. It is safe to say that we may have had some equally good, but never a better one. Her dignity, her grace, her poise, are impeccable. She is a brilliant public speaker and a facilitator of worthy causes and useful contacts behind the scenes. And she has the under-stated but impressive support of her husband Martin.
This starting to sound like the famous observation from Sir Bernard Caulfield about Mary Archer "Has she elegance? Has she fragrance? Would she have, without the strain of this trial, radiance?"
Yet the idea has taken root in some quarters that we should have a contest - although the Fine Gael and Labour leaders both dislike the prospect. Fine Gael appear content to let the resident have an unopposed second term, but a body of opinion in Labour favours the nomination of Michael D Higgins.
The idea has taken root that the people of Ireland should have an election to decide their Head of State - Perish the thought!
The net result of such a move for Labour (and Fine Gael, if they put up a candidate) would be to waste time and resources on an election they could not possibly win. A worse scenario would be the nomination by Greens and others of an "environmentalist". That would risk bringing into a presidential election matters which belong properly in the domain of party politics.
Worse no doubt than the Greens would be the likely prescence of Dana Scallon on the list. Dana, now an MEP won 13.8% of the vote last time, on an uncompromising family values/Catholic ticket. - An anathema to the chateratti in Dublin.
There is another danger. Mrs McAleese was first elected as a Fianna Fail candidate. But like her predecessors, she proved herself a president for all the people. A contested election would force her to rely on Fianna Fail for funds and organisation and could take some, though perhaps not much, of the gloss off her image.
It would be another story if she felt she had given sufficient service and wanted to retire. She has, rightly, given no indication of her wishes and intentions, but every sign says she still relishes her job and has more to contribute.
From the viewpoint of the country there can be little or no doubt of the most desirable course of events. There is no need for an election.
In seven years' time, we can have a presidential election on a more level playing field. When the time comes, we will be lucky if we find another president who can compare with Mrs McAleese.
Blech, retch uggh. The Independent calls itself a newspaper. Well I suppose I have always supported a united Ireland, under the crown.