|Higgins at an anti-Israel rally in Galway in 2007|
With Higgins's track record, its no wonder the extremely virulent Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign is cock-a-hoop at its old friend's rise to a position if not of wide formal powers, then certainly of not inconsiderable influence.
I've taken my eye off the Emerald Isle since posting about Michael D. Higgins a little while ago. So I'm grateful to Mark Humphrys (whose blog has many revealing photos of Higgins like this one) for paying a visit to this site just now, and giving me the tidbit that at President Higgins's inauguration an Islamic cleric recited a prayer.
Nothing wrong with a little bit of ecumenism, you might say. After all, what better way to make all sections of society feel they are part and parcel of the nation in which they live than by their religious representatives participating at such a state occasion?
The cleric in question, Iraqi-born Dr Noob al-Kaddo, has been director, since 1997, of the Clonskeagh mosque in Dublin, a mosque that appears to have ties to the hardline Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, and if that is the case, then any cosying up of President Higgins to its leader is bound to make many people, Mark Humphrys included, uneasy.
Back in the late nineteenth century, when Britain's Liberal Prime Minister William E. Gladstone proposed Home Rule for Ireland, opponents of the measure, believing that it would lead to the eclipse the influence of the Anglican Church in Ireland and to the political ascendancy of the Roman Catholic Church to which the majority of Irish people belonged, were quick to coin the phrase "Home Rule means Rome Rule".
How incomprehensible that all seems now ...
It might be unnecessarily alarmist, in view of his restricted powers, to say that with Higgins at the helm the Irish ship of state might be heading for uncharted waters. But with him blasting his favoured course on the megaphone, it might be plain sailing for the anti-American, anti-Israel crowd ...