On Thursday we have to decide between a Poet and a Businessman as the next President.
As somebody who was a genuinely independent candidate, who tested the democratic accessibility of the European electoral system in 2009 I do know what attracts people to “Independents”.
I have fundamental differences with the Labour Party of Eamon Gilmore, particularly for his post-Lisbon One U-turn. However in terms of independence being understood as something beyond pure party membership, I honestly think that Michael D Higgins is the most independently minded candidate in this election.
Many in the North West will be glad to see a Derry man do so well in the Presidential elections and I congratulate Martin McGuinness for his solid performance. Let it be remembered that despite Labour’s ignorance of border realities, it was Michael D Higgins who as Minister got rid of Section 31, taking the muzzle off a significant part of our society. He is a rare treasure with a truly national and international consciousness.
I strongly urge people to give Michael D Higgins their highest possible preference in Thursday’s election. It is better for our psyche to have an independently minded poet in the Áras than a businessman who was more involved with boomtime Fianna Fáil than any of the rest of the field. Independence goes beyond the party tag sometimes.
Fiachra Ó Luain