The Republic of Ireland was in panic this morning in its search for someone singularly unsuited to lead the country in uncertain times. Bucking the trend for exceptionally talented, unifying female presidents, the mood in Ireland today favours a switch to a disastrous presidential election and the elevation of a complete charlatan with skills entirely incidental to the qualities required in a President.
Following on from the decision of a well known talk show presenter Gay Byrne not to contest the election to the nation’s Presidency, commentators in Dublin expressed concern that a really spectacularly unsuited person might not be found in time for the close of nominations.
Irish affairs correspondent Hugo Rudd explains:
“Ireland was all set for a fairly straight contest between leading party Fine Gael’s boringly competent Gay Mitchell, former Labour Party Minister and icon of the western left Michael D Higgins and the independent but liberal-leaning gay rights icon and Joyce scholar Senator David Norris. Unfortunately, the prospects for David Norris were destroyed when it was discovered he had pled for clemency in the case of his former partner’s sentence in an Israeli stautory rape case. At that point, the election moved into a new phase.”
Indications that former Eurovision Song Contest winner and former firebrand Catholic right-wing fundamentalist Dana Rosemary Scallon was interested in the job for the second time (having contested previously) were met with grudging credulity until Ireland set its hopes on popular but divisive talk show host Gay Byrne to give the country a fighting chance at a basically unsuitable President. Despite leading the polls for a weekend, Mr Byrne declined to seek the nomination.
The race to find somebody-anybody- to ensure the only candidate with an experience of government and diplomacy does not get the job of approving or refering legislation to the Supreme Court, representing the nation overseas and unifying the country in a time of economic turmoil, is ongoing.
Finally, many in Ireland are calling for Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh, a sports commentator with close associations to the Gaelic Athletic Association to lead them. It is felt that, in international diplomacy, the ability to accurately and emotionally describe the actions of thirty men in a field could be invaluable.