RTÉ BROADCASTER Miriam O’Callaghan has thanked people for their “kind comments” about speculation she would run for the Presidency next year – but has equivocally denied speculation that she plans to seek the office.
Yesterday’s Sunday Tribune led with the story that O’Callaghan had emerged as a “surprise contender” for the position, which is up for election again in October 2011, with the broadcaster quoted as saying seeking election “would be such an extraordinary and unimaginable honour that I wouldn’t dare talk about it.”
This afternoon, however, after the story gathered such steam that it became the first topic on Today with Pat Kenny, O’Callaghan tweeted:
To avoid this Presidential story getting out of control, I have just issued a statement confirming I will NOT be a candidate in the 2011 elec[tion].
Yesterday O’Callaghan – a regular Twitter user – had said:
Thanks all for kind comments re Tribune. A simple reply to the excellent Conor [McMorrow, the story's co-author] saying I haven’t been approached, took a [very] unexpected turn.
In response to the positive words of one user, she had later commented:
Thanks – it’s strange though as it’s not something I’ve ever sought or approached anyone about [and] yet in past weeks, so many queries
Online discussion seemed to show a divide between Twitter and Politics.ie, which could be deemed to mirror a division between the more politically-minded and less politically active segments of the public.
Here’s a selection of feedback from Twitter:
- HelenMcCormack: Miriam for president! #pktoday @miriamocal she has a legal background, smart and great ppl skills. What’s not to like?
- ConorLambert: Miriam O Callahan to run for President, yet another case of the journalist becoming the news. #todaypk
- lindacooganB: Miriam O Callaghan running for president. How brilliant would that be. No better candidate.
- BarryMcElduff: Media gets carried away promoting their own. I mean, Miriam O Callaghan as President of Ireland? Sunday Tribune never refuses ink.
- offmessagejen: Mammy O’Rourke says @MiriamOCal for President. I could go for that#rteradio1
On Politics.ie, meanwhile, the following comments appeared:
- Interista: Why? Because she’s a woman? Since when has it been ‘modern’ to have TV presenters as your head of state?
- manna: I hope she becomes president: I think I’m in love with her! To me she’s the perfect woman. Does anybody else feel the same because I’m quite prepared to have a duel with them at dawn. Just let me know were and when.
- JSmith: No disrespect to you personally Manna, but are we now electing a National Mammy?
- drjimryan2: and the silly season ends… when?… hope it’s soon…
- Cork1234: I hear Henry Shefflin and Pierce Brosnan will throw their names in the hat tomorrow. This state is beyond a joke.
- White Horse: The Presidency is not like the chairperson of a bridge club in Foxrock. How would she get votes outisde of Dublin?
- donald: All we need now is Dustin the Turkey, and Jedward to complete the fiasco. President of Ireland= Celebrity Contest. This country is getting scary.
- Toland: Am I imagining things, or is silly season substantially sillier this summer than usual?
There had also been speculation as to whether she would seek the nomination of a political party – her brother Jim is a Fianna Fáil councillor – or seek the support of four local councils, though now the discussion seems to be moot.
What do you think – would Miriam O’Callaghan have made a good candidate for the Presidency?