Presidential hopeful, Michael D Higgins, was on radio today (Friday) answering questions from listeners.
Early on Mr. Higgins made his position clear regarding transparency.
It’s very important in this debate we’re going to have for the Presidency that people be absolutely straight about what the President can and cannot do.
These high ideals took a bit of a tumble when a listener made the suggestion that if elected Mr. Higgins should fulfil his role as President on an honorary basis. That he should accept no salary and instead live on his various pensions.
This is an excellent suggestion because, as president, Mr. Higgins will incur no costs whatsoever, no rent, transport, entertainment, laundry, not even a television or dog licence.
Any cost he did incur, and I can’t think of a single example, could easily be paid for from one of his many generous state pensions.
Such example would, I’m sure, inspire the oppressed and desperate people of Ireland and convince them that at least one member of the ruling elite is feelilng their pain.
Alas, Michael D, in common with most Irish political ‘leaders’, is strong on bullshit rhetoric but very squeamish when it comes to giving up his ‘entitlements’.
I do not intend to draw my pensions from the Oireachtas, Ministry or whatever while I am President.
That ‘whatever’ seems to suggest that Mr. Higgins is not quite sure just how many pensions he’s in receipt of.
Neither does he make clear whether his numerous pensions will be accumulating while he is President, just that he won’t be drawing them while in the job.
The listener ignored this non answer and persisted with his original question.
The current president took a voluntary cut in her salary?
She did, agreed Mr. Higgins, but went on;
Frankly, I think that one should respect the division between the Oireachtas, Government and the Presidency.
One should, of course, especially when ‘disrespect’ could result in a loss of income.
I wonder what herself up in the park would think of Michael Ds accusation that her voluntary salary cut was a disrespectful act against the State, not amused one would imagine.
The listener was not to be diverted.
You could decide that the salary was over generous.
Mr. Higgins, growing ever more uncomfortable;
Well, I think it is capable of being reduced but I’ll tell you why I don’t like this notion of doing it (the job) on an honorary basis – It reminds me of landlordism.
It reminds me of previous centuries when only those who could afford out of their munificence and riches to preside over what were regarded as the peasants who weren’t rich enough to participate.
We have now entered the dark depths of Irish political logic where, in order to protect monetary ‘entitlements’, reality is frequently turned on its head.
Mr. Higgins feels that to accept a cut in the massive salary and expenses enjoyed by the President would somehow offend ordinary ‘peasants’ who are struggling to put food on the table for their children.
The pesky listener just wouldn’t let go of the issue.
You could draw your pensions and live on them?
But Mr. Higgins had reached the end of his patience with this annoying peasant.
I haven’t thought that out to be quite honest with you. I haven’t been considering the financial aspect but (regal tone adopted) I will bear all these suggestions that come forward.
Now, away with you, you dirty peasant said Higgins as he gave orders for the listener to be arrested and beheaded at dawn.
Ah no, that last sentence is only a joke.