Irish president Michael D Higgins in religious speech row
Irish president Michael D Higgins's office has said that it is "inappropriate" to question him on his spiritual beliefs – even though he had to swear a religious oath upon taking office.
His Christmas address contained no mention of Christ or Christianity for the third year in a row.
The president has previously described himself as "spiritual", rather than religious, and his office has said it would be "inappropriate" to question him on his spiritual views.
When he was inaugurated in St Patrick's Hall in Dublin Castle in 2011, he took a religious oath containing references to "Almighty God" as required under the Irish Constitution.