Belfast Telegraph

President could be inaugurated earlier in day to accommodate Armistice event

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said it was an issue that has arisen by accident and not design.

Ireland’s president could be inaugurated at an earlier part of the day than usual to ensure it does not clash with the centenary of the end of the First World War, it has been claimed.

November 11 marks Armistice Day, the day after Michael D Higgins’ term in office finishes and the fresh mandate begins.

While the government said it would reflect on the matter, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said it is possible to have the Presidential Inauguration before the commemoration event takes place.

Armistice is marked by holding two minutes silence at 11am while the president is inaugurated in a major ceremony broadcast live on television from Dublin Castle, usually at around midday.

Mr Flanagan said it was an issue that has arisen by accident and not design.

He said: “I want to acknowledge that is raises a coincidence of days, the end of the term of office of President Higgins is the 10th November, the constitutional requirement is that, be it Michael D. Higgins himself or his successor, be inaugurated at the first opportunity, that will be the 11th November.

“I believe however, it is possible to be inaugurated early in the day and the first role and function of the new president will be to engage on behalf of the state at the 11th November commemorations.”

He said the President could have a busy first day in office, adding: “This is an issue that has arisen by accident rather than design.

“However I think it’s possible for president Higgins or his successor to have a very busy day on the 11th November, be in inaugurated into the institution of president and then perform the important official function of the World War One commemoration.”

On Tuesday, Local Government Minister Eoghan Murphy ordered the election be held on October 26.

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