Today is presidential election day and I am quite conflicted. I find all the candidates unappealing.
Dana — I think I’ll put her number 1. I admire her strong pro-life stance, and I think she would make an excellent representative of the country in dealings abroad (except with Europe, which is now crucial). I dislike her seemingly uncritical opposition to the European Union.
Michael D. Higgins — I like his strong support for neutrality but his views on some issues are not to my tastes. His strong opinions on some conflicts abroad (some of which I agree with, some of which I strongly disagree with) could arouse resentment. I don’t really want to give what could be interpreted as an endorsement to the (horrible) Labour Party, prominent members of which want to rip up the constitution and replace it with something necessarily worse.
Mary Davis — I don’t know much about her but she seems very decent so I’ll probably give her my second preference.
Martin McGuinness — I don’t know much about his policy views but I tend to naturally sympathize with anyone the odious Sindo strongly opposes. I think I will give him my third preference.
David Norris — He strikes me as a fundamentally decent man and I thought he was very unfairly treated by the media in the recent controversy. However, his views on important social issues are obviously not in accordance with mine. I admire his support for neutrality and opposition to Irish participation in NATO. But he said some nasty things about the Pope. Would be a terrible representative for Ireland abroad.
Gay Mitchell — I will give him my fourth preference – solely for his strong pro-life convictions. But he is a member of a now clearly anti-Catholic political party and did not criticise Enda Kenny’s tirade against the Pope. He also suggests rejoining the Commonwealth, which would be a disgraceful and embarrassing step backwards and would do nothing whatsoever to mollify northern Unionists. (My friend Luke Scully also said that this lost Mitchell his first preference.) Seems to have a very dull personality.
Séan Gallagher — That this man could be associated (rightly or wrongly) with the party of De Valera is a sad reflection of how far Fianna Fáil has declined. He also wants to ‘modernize’ the national anthem. What nonsense!
I will also vote ‘no’ to both referenda.