The President’s comments

The Israel-Hamas war and foreign policy

Sir, – Members of Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann provide a wide range of commentary ranging from left to right, as well as support for, and criticism of, Government policy. There is a view, held by many, that the Seanad is one debating chamber too many for a country as small as Ireland.

It now appears our President, Michael D Higgins, is seeking to turn his office into yet another centre of factional political commentary. In effect, we have a third house of the Oireachtas, whose sole member feels free to air his populist left-wing views protected from criticism because of the apolitical nature of the office.

Some argue that he is seeking to make the presidency more relevant and, like a previous president, looking into his heart to find what the people of Ireland really want.

I suggest he is flouting the constitutional restraints placed on the office and that if the need for a political presidency is identified, it should be provided for by constitutional amendment and not by the office holder creating dangerous precedents.


I wonder would those mainly left-wing politicians who share the President’s views be so supportive of his efforts to politicise the presidency if the office was held by somebody from the other side of the political spectrum? – Yours, etc,



Dublin 16.

Sir, – Thank God for President Michael D Higgins’s courage in speaking out to prevent further deaths in Gaza and Israel. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 16.

Sir, – What a relief it is to know that we will no longer have to hold referendums in Ireland and that we can dispense with citizens’ assemblies.

If we need to know the will of the Irish people on any subject, we simply have to ask President Michael D Higgins. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 13.

Sir, – Reading correspondences regarding President Michael D Higgins’s remarks on foreign policy (Letters, October 21st) brought to mind a quote attributed (some would say misattributed) to the 18th century Irish philosopher and statesman Edmund Burke. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Yours, etc,




Sir, – The Israeli ambassador has said that comments made by President Michael D Higgins in relation to the Israel-Hamas war are “legally wrong” (“Israeli ambassador to Ireland accuses President of repeating ‘misinformation’”, News, October 22nd).

This is what is legally wrong: bombing and killing civilians in Gaza, telling more than one million citizens to leave their homes and move south, denying water, food, medical supplies and generator fuel to hospitals.

The Israeli ambassador has accused our president of being “misinformed”.

Mr Higgins is completely and morally right to speak out for peace.

It is time for the Israeli ambassador to go. – Yours, etc,



Co Galway.