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Presidential Library News November 3, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Michael McDowell makes.. and yes, I’m a bit surprised to be writing this, but nonetheless, some good points in the SBP at the weekend in relation to the saga of the Mary Robinson Presidential Library. A thought strikes – we don’t have executive presidencies, and all the better for it, and I do wonder if the office itself is quite so exalted that it needs perhaps quite the focus on it that it seems to sometimes get. But that’s another matter, I suppose.

He asks:

Are all former officeholders to benefit from tax holidays based on donating their papers, documents and memorabilia to publicly funded ‘libraries’ in future> Or is this to be a one-off? In my judgement the Ballina scheme should be called off before it does further damage to Irish public life?

Why not retain the simple and noble tradition that the personal archives of senior former office-holders are given as free gift o existing professionally run archives insofar as they are not destined to become part of the National Archives?

Why not indeed?

One other thought arises. Perhaps I’m missing some point here but the idea the library is to be situated in the former family home seems to me to be very strange. It seems to blend the office and the person in ways that as a republican I find troubling. Do others feel similarly?


1. dublinstreams - November 3, 2016

” It seems to blend the office and the person in ways that as a republican” can you expand on that, given that you mentioned this follows the examples of US Presidential Libraries. Are you saying the Irish President gets too much focus?


WorldbyStorm - November 4, 2016

Nope but again the RoI and US presidencies aren’t exactly equivalent with one being executive the other not. Having such a ‘personalisation’ of the office including the archive in the family home seems to me to reify personal rather than political aspects.


2. lamentreat - November 4, 2016

It is grotesque. Even the likes of Dev didn’t think to pull a stunt like this.

A fact best explained less by personal narcissism (tempting though it is) by the yawning gulf between the former national elites and the new global elite. Robinson clearly feels herself to have transcended the former to join the latter (a la Blair), and knows this needs to be recognized in a grand and irrevocable style.

To simply hand over papers as her predecessors did would – in her eyes – grotesquely demean her, reducing herself back to a mere Paddy Hillary, rather than somewhere on the spectrum between Sepp Blatter and the Dalai Lama.


WorldbyStorm - November 4, 2016

That’s some spectrum 😦


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