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Michael D should sympathise with the protesters and be a people’s president

“Did he not have a constitutionally powerful tool at his disposal ? He also had the choice to resign rather than sign it.”

That is Helen Breathnach’s (Irish Examiner, Letters, January 30) perspective on President Michael D Higgins and the recent furore over ‘presidential protesting’.

Trawling through Higgins’s own protesting CV, she presses the president on his options vis-a-vis signing-off on the water-charges bill.

The guff about the protests against the President, and the Tanaiste, Joan Burton, should be recalibrated. Of course, no decent democratic citizen can condone vindictive, personal abuse or threats to physical safety. But the corollary is that we should acknowledge fully the frustration of people who are struggling to survive.

Austerity has patently favoured the ‘financiers of folly’ and their associated ‘corporate connivers’.

Irish people’s tolerance of unfairness is astounding. White-collar crimes go unpunished, while the result of corruption is that citizens pay for emasculated tribunals at gargantuan expense and for shoddy public service.

‘Me-féinism’ seems the core dynamic in Irish politics. Political survival is all about cooking the ‘truth-books’ to suit electoral strategy, and has nothing to do with collectivism.

Poverty is deemed almost a necessary evil to prop up the incomes, salary enhancements, bonuses and expenses of the gilded few.

Energised protest is understandable when discrimination is the main show in town. Micheal D is a worthy President, given his erstwhile political pedigree and socialist credentials.

Perhaps he might deign to comment on the controversial protests, not to acquiesce to their crude tactics, but to respond to their grievances.

That way, he could be seen as President of the people, especially of the struggling classes.

Jim Cosgrove

Chapel Street


Co Wateford


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