by Lorraine O’Hanlon, Galway Independent
President -elect Michael D Higgins is putting the finishing touches to his inaugural speech, prior to his inauguration tomorrow Friday 11 November, at Dublin Castle.
Live television coverage of the event will begin at 11.30am, with the former Galway West TD being escorted to Dublin Castle by motorcycle cavalcade.
The inauguration will begin at 12noon with An Taoiseach Enda Kenny requesting the Chief Justice, Mrs. Justice Susan Denham, to read the Declaration of Office to the President-elect. This will be followed by signing of the Declaration.
Following the ceremony, the then-President will be invited to inspect a Guard of Honour in the Upper Courtyard at Dublin Castle. “After inspecting that guard of honour, there will be what we term a ‘march past’, where the guard of honour ceremonially marches past and renders honours to the new President,” said a spokesperson for the Defence Forces. “As part of that, we will also have a’fly past’, which is four PC9 Pilatus aircraft from the Air Corps again rendering honours, “he said.
Around 300 members of the Defence Forces will take part in tomorrow’s event and, when Mr. Higgins receives his seal of office during the inauguration ceremony, the Presidential flag will be raised simultaneously at Aras an Uachtarain and a State Reception will take place later that evening at Dublin Castle.
In addition to Mr. Higgins’ extensive connections to Galway, it has emerged that Galway has another link to tomorrow’s ceremony. The inauguration chair has been designed and made by GMIT Letterfrack graduate John Lee, who graduated from the Furniture Design and Manufacture programme in 1993.
The Meath resident was awarded the commission to create the new chair following a tendering process conducted by the Office of Public Works to replace the previous chair, which was made in the 19th century.
Mr. Lee drew inspiration for the chair from the phrase ‘céad mile failte’ and the embassadorial role of the presidency and the chair is made in quarter sawn native white oak. It features a gold embossed state harp on an Irish presidential blue leather hide.
“The new chair is a modest and modern but not overwhelming piece that reflects the dignity of the office of the President,” said Mr. Lee.