Q&A: Why was #notmypresident trending on Twitter?

Q&A: Why was #notmypresident trending on Twitter?

President Michael D Higgins. File Picture: RollingNews.ie

On Wednesday, President Michael D Higgins signed into law the new legislation to allow for indoor dining from next Monday.

However, soon after the news was publicised, the hashtag #notmypresident started trending on Twitter.

What is the legislation?

Known as the Health Amendment No 2 Bill, the legislation paves the way for the reopening of indoor hospitality.

However, it permits only those who are fully vaccinated, those who have recovered from Covid-19 and their children to eat and drink indoors.

How will it work?

A Digital Covid Certificate QR reader will be used by pubs and restaurants in order to check for valid vaccine certificates, but paper certificates will still be accepted by hospitality staff.

Time limits will be lifted, and groups with unvaccinated children will be sitting two metres away from every other table.

Tables with no unvaccinated children will be permitted to sit one metre away from every other table.

Hospitality staff who are unvaccinated will also be permitted to dine indoors outside of their working times.

Why is it controversial?

When the Government announced these measures, many cohorts of society expressed dissatisfaction, claiming it was discrimination and segregation against unvaccinated individuals.

So what has any of this to do with President Higgins?

Social media users used the online platforms to express their dissatisfaction with the signing of the legislation into law. They believe the President should have refused to sign it.

Well, could he have refused to sign it?

No. The President of Ireland is not entitled to sign or not sign legislation based on what he does or does not agree with.

Article 13.3.2 of the Constitution requires the President "to promulgate" [put into effect] "every law made by the Oireachtas".

However, if the President believes there is a potential conflict with the Constitution - as outlined in Article 26 of the document - he can decline to sign the legislation.

Why don’t they just open indoor dining for everyone, regardless of vaccination status?

Public health officials and politicians decided against a blanket reopening of indoor hospitality as a result of the Covid-19 delta wave which is currently sweeping across the country.

How long will these rules remain in place?

There is a sunset clause of October 9, but they can be extended in three month periods, depending on the epidemiological situation at the time.

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