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Dublin: 10 °C Monday 18 March, 2019
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Michael D Higgins to attend Armistice event (but not as President) before evening inauguration

His first term as President officially ended at midnight.

Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

MICHAEL D HIGGINS will be formally inaugurated as President of Ireland for the second time at Dublin Castle this evening.

At midnight last night his first term officially ended and for around 18 hours Ireland will not officially have a President.

That’s nothing to worry about though, as those duties are taken over by the Presidential Commission during that time. There is no legislation currently waiting to be signed by the President and even if there was, there is always a three-day window for bills and he could sign it tonight after the inauguration.

Normally, the inauguration would take place at noon, but this time Higgins asked the government to move it to evening to facilitate events for the centenary of World War I Armistice taking place earlier in the day.

The government has asked President Higgins to represent the people of Ireland at the State event in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin to mark the centenary of the end of the war.

It was important for Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to write to Higgins with this request. He will not be there as President of Ireland, but at the request of the government as a representative of the people.

During the time between the end of his term and the inauguration this evening, he does not have an official title – we do not have the term ‘President-elect’ in the Irish Constitution.

This evening Higgins will leave the Áras at 6pm and will be accompanied by his usual escort to Dublin Castle, where members of the Houses of the Oireachtas will be waiting.

He will then take an oath and sign some paperwork and as the band kicks in to mark the moment, he will be deemed officially inaugurated as Pesident of Ireland for the second time.

Two flags will be raised – one in Dublin Castle and another at the Áras to indicate that there is a sitting president.

Higgins will then return to the Áras for an evening reception.

We’ll have more on the inauguration later today.

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