Petty squabbles won’t help any candidate

President Higgins at the Leinster hurling final in 2017
President Higgins at the Leinster hurling final in 2017

If the upcoming presidential election is going to anything like the last few weeks then we are in for a very long and painful campaign.

The amount of complaining that came from many quarters about Michael D Higgins‘s so-called last-minute decision to declare his interest was ridiculous.

He was within the permitted time-scale and can legitimately announce his plans whenever he wishes, within that period.

Yet many people were already trying to use this as a stick to beat him with and to kick-start some sort of negative feeling towards him, ahead of the campaign-proper.

There seems to be a lot of sour grapes over the fact that the current president is seeking re-election with many reminding him of his pledge to serve just one term.

A lot of commentary suggested that Michael D criticised Mary McAleese for similarly delaying her announcement with regard to a second term, yet after seven years, I think he can be forgiven for having a change of heart.

Really the only mistake he made was saying this during the last campaign, before he entered the role and learned exactly what it would be like.

Declaring his intention to run does not mean an automatic return to the Áras, yet for many the threat of facing an election campaign with Michael D in the running has them seething. Any prospective candidate will have a massive mountain to climb to beat him, with seven practically flawless years under his belt.

Most people will admit that he has represented the country impeccably and has been an excellent ambassador for Ireland at many different types of events.

Our president is non-political so anyone with a platform who wishes to effect major change is barking up the wrong tree.

To be honest I feel that an election is the last thing that many people want, but there are others who believe there should be one just for the sake of it, to stop what has been described as a ‘coronation’ in recent weeks.

It is as if some candidates are only interested in running to stop President Higgins from serving another term. They complained that they will now face a challenge to get the required support from local authorities, yet nothing was stopping them from canvassing support for many months, or even years up until now. The complaints really are redundant and only serve to make intending candidates look petty.