Why running for President of Ireland brings out the best and worst ----not to mention the humor and hostility


When I stated publicly to the Irish Times in a front page story that I had been asked to consider running for Irish president, I knew reactions would run the gamut from praise to disdain.

The bookmakers didn't seem to take it too seriously at first. Paddy Power opened up with my odds at 25/1, suddenly then they were 18/1 then 11/1 where they currently reside, fourth on the list of favorites.

Not bad for a single week I suppose

The increase in interest brought its own focus good and bad and sometimes just funny.

The Dissident IRA supporters radio program in New York suggested I be sent as Ambassador to Mongolia instead of running for president of Ireland and forced to undergo re-education there.

Hmm, undergoing re-education among a field of Yaks in Ulan Bator was not really on my horizon.

They also compared me to Donald Trump saying I was contemplating running just to boost my own ego.

That was even more insulting.

Give me re-education in Outer Mongolia to being compared to The Donald.

That really hurt.

Fair enough I don't expect too many friends in that camp post peace process, where they have never forgiven me for pushing for political rather than a military solution.

Meanwhile, back in Ireland, on the site Politics.ie two discussion boards couldn't decide whether I was an idiot or genuinely trying to do better for Ireland.

Some of the comments were cutting, some wonderfully warm.

One stood out remarking that neither my brother, Fergus, a Minister of State in Ireland or Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein leader in Ireland actually liked me and the blogger had personal knowledge of this.

That sort of took me aback and was news to me about two men i have known a very long time indeed.

Is there something I should know?

My 11-year -old daughter, taking her head out of her Ipod has become vaguely aware something other than the usual banalities are being discussed and asked the most pertinent question of all --- Was there a Disney Channel in Ireland?

Utterly reassured she returned to her Ipod.

My twenty-year-old niece, Daire, out from Ireland, filled me in on what her friends were thinking, for many there is very little alternative to the emigrant plane.

It is a generation later but the same discussion is going on with her and her friends, as was with me when left in 1979.

Plus ca change you might say.

I wrote an op-ed in the Sunday Business Post pointing out some of the potential of the Irish diaspora and received several dozen texts soon after , mostly saying it was time Ireland looked west as well as to Europe.

That was interesting. I will be in Ireland to gauge more reaction in a week or so .

I'll let you know how it goes.

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