‘I’m Not Entitled To Have An Opinion As President’

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Last night.

On the Virgin Media One presidential debate hosted by Pat Kenny…

Mr Kenny asked all of the candidates who was in favour of water charges – asking those in favour of them to put their hands up.

Former Dragons’ Den stars Peter Casey, Seán Gallagher and Gavin Duffy all indicated they were in favour of water charges, while Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada said she wasn’t.

Mr Kenny then turned to incumbent Michael D Higgins and they had this exchange:

Kenny: “And Michael D? As a socialist?”

Higgins: “I was an incumbent President that had to look at the legislation in front of me, in terms of its constitutionality.”

Kenny: “No, but the point is, you, personally, as a socialist, are you in favour of water charges?

Higgins:I’m not entitled to have an opinion as president…”

Kenny: “You’re entitled, as a campaigner, to have an opinion.”

Higgins: “…in relation to a matter that is  coming before me that will require, for example, me to say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to its constitutionality.”

Mr Kenny then attempted to move on and ask another question but Senator Joan Freeman reminded him that he didn’t ask her for her opinion on water charges.

She said she wasn’t in favour but she did pay her water charges bill.

Watch back in full here

Earlier: How Was It For You?

21 thoughts on “‘I’m Not Entitled To Have An Opinion As President’

  1. SOQ

    If holding the office effectively means a gagging order then why bother appearing on a debate at all?

    1. js

      To prove that you can be above politics and actually understand what the role of president entails, which I think this debate proved pretty effectively all three dragons do not.

        1. SOQ

          Or, he is a waffler who knows he is onto a good thing. Never warmed to the man myself. I am sure he is genuine, unlike all of his competitors but is this the best we can do?

          Really?

    2. Nigel

      That’s why presidential campaigns are so awful. They’re modeled after something like the US campaigns but they’re totally different roles and the formats and approaches are entirely unsuitable. We’re not electing someone for policies, we’re electing someone to fulfill a role as national representative and figurehead. Most of the influence they will exert will be through sheer force of personality. Even if you want to change the powers and privileges of the presidency, you do it from the Dail, not from the presidency itself. Arguably, that tool’s comments about Travellers and the related issues of ethnicity and identity are more in keeping with what a president is about, albeit singling out a group to criticise for thinking they’re ‘special’ is the exact opposite of the spirit of the presidency.

  2. Topsy

    Wouldn’t it be lovely if a few travellers decided to roll up and park outside or in the vicinity of those candidates. They all seem anxious to embrace these travellers at close quarters.

  3. Cian

    MDH shows his political skill by not answering the question he was asked:

    Q: “you, personally, as a socialist, are you in favour of water charges?”
    A: “I’m not entitled to have an opinion as president in relation to a matter that is coming before me that will require, for example, me to say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to its constitutionality.”

  4. Mr. P

    What a weak answer
    “She said she wasn’t in favour but she did pay her water charges bill.”

    That’s the best since

    “I did smoke a joint, but didn’t inhale”

  5. small ads

    Odd that he won’t answer. Water charges are unlikely to come up before him again.

    One might imagine that as a typical socialist he could be for the principle that water should be paid for, against water being privatised in any form, and for the charges being fairly distributed…?

    1. Cian

      Another 7 years and there’s a damn good chance the economy will tank again and they’ll be one of the first things tried again.

  6. Lilly

    Liadh Ni Riada was doing well until she went and ruined it by talking about the travellers ‘taking ownership’ of some issue or other. I hate the way corporate gobbledygook is creeping into everyday conversation.

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