The President of Ireland , Michael D Higgins, chose the address he was invited to give at the National Ploughing Championship  in Co Laois to attack the UN for failing to do things that the member states of the UN had given it neither the authority, nor the means to do.

The President had  not been invited to give his personal opinions on a topic of his choice.

No,  The Ploughing Championship is a  major public event, at which Mr. Higgins was speaking in his official capacity as President, and he was speaking for the Irish people as a whole.

The President’s remarks about the United Nations was such that the Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, who is the address the United Nations General Assembly on behalf of Ireland,  felt it necessary publicly  to disagree with the President.

This is  not something that should happen. 

It is the Minister for Foreign Affairs, not any other office holder, who is charged under the Constitution, with primary responsibility for articulating Irish foreign policy, including on the UN. He does so in collective responsibility with his cabinet colleagues. Articulating foreign policy is not among the Presidents constitutional responsibilities.

Ireland cannot have two foreign policies, one expressed by the government , and another expressed by the President.

We need to have a united policy.