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Overwhelming public support for President's decision not to attend NI event - poll

There's overwhelming public support for the decision by President Michael D Higgins to turn down ...
Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

08.27 19 Sep 2021


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Overwhelming public support fo...

Overwhelming public support for President's decision not to attend NI event - poll

Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

08.27 19 Sep 2021


Share this article


There's overwhelming public support for the decision by President Michael D Higgins to turn down an invitation to a ceremony marking the partition of Ireland, according to a new poll.

A poll by Ireland Thinks in today's Mail on Sunday suggests more than four out of five voters say Michael D Higgins made the right call.

The Mail on Sunday's executive editor John Lee says they asked people whether he should have gone to the service, and the answer was clear.

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He said: "13% of people said yes, and a massive 81% said no - not far away from mirroring the poll results he got in the last presidential election.

"His decision was controversial, and he was criticised by former taoiseach John Bruton.

"But he has come out tops of that among the Irish people - I think there is firm, firm support for Michael D's decision not to attend."

President Michael D Higgins declined an invitation to the church service in Armagh commemorating the partition of Ireland and the foundation of Northern Ireland.

He said the event had become too politicised.

The President has said his decision is not a snub to the Queen, who is due to attend the ceremony, and has noted that he does not intend to reconsider his decision.

John Bruton initially President Michael D Higgins would have been in breach of the Constitution if he took the decision without first asking the Government.

However, Mr Bruton later said his comments were based on media reports that the President acted without consulting the Government.

He said comments from Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney had clarified the situation, noting that "the provisions of the Constitution now do appear to have been fulfilled."

He said: "I am happy that that is the case and that the matter is now clarified."

Mr Bruton said he still believes President Higgins should attend the event.

While President Higgins has faced criticism from the DUP and some others, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said the President's decision is his own and he respects that.

President Higgins has also been supported by other senior political figures, including Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald and Labour's Alan Kelly.

Main image: File photo of Michael D Higgins. Picture by: Niall Carson/PA Archive/PA Images

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