President is a symbol of unity

FOUR political parties wisely see nothing wrong with granting Mary McAleese a further term as president.

She has herself stated that she has objectives still to pursue. As a native of the real Ulster she is a powerful symbol of unity, understands better than most the complexities of the problems to be overcome there and has proved what a magnanimous lady she is.

Despite maltreatment of her incapacitated brother and much hardship inflicted on her father’s business as a publican, the family were saved from a massacre by a loyalist gang because they happened to be at Mass.

While in church they left all the lights on back at the house. It was assumed by the would-be murderers that the family were at home.

Machine-gunners located upstairs in a house overlooking that of the family strafed the bedclothes to ribbons in upstairs rooms. Machine-gunners at ground level sprayed every room downstairs.

Her father picked up 20 shells/cartridges when they returned from Mass. The family did not wait for another such episode.

Yet, the president subsequently invited loyalists to Áras an Uachtaráin.

Early in her presidency she led the royalty of Europe in commemorating the Irish who had given their lives fighting Europe’s battles with dignity of a queen. She is equally at ease with the nobility and those less well-off.

She has made countless visits all over this country to meet all classes and creeds, and those with disabilities, all the while encouraging people to have hope and to better themselves.

I had the experience last January of a gracious visit by her to a cul-de-sac in a city council housing estate - Clarina Avenue in Ballinacurra Weston, Limerick - where a group of caring citizens had turned a council house into a community development project office.

Without a note, as far as I could see, the president spoke so much to the point that one would think she was a frequent visitor.

Liam MacMathúna (Snr)

45 Na Páirceanna Glasa

Ros Bhriain

Luimneach

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