There is likely to be a presidential election in Ireland later this year, as President Michael D Higgins’s term comes to an end.

In theory, any Irish citizen over the age of 35 can become the head of state, but in practice, a candidate has to have the support of a major political party. And it has been reliably reported that the main opposition party, Fianna Fáil – founded by Éamon de Valera – is considering putting up a remarkable mother of eight children for the position.

Miriam O’Callaghan is a national celebrity, being an intelligent yet glamorous prime-time television and radio presenter. She is tall, blonde, athletic and good-tempered, as well as having four daughters and four sons, aged from nine to 29.

I should, perhaps, declare an interest here and admit that I have been interviewed on radio by Miriam, and have been won over by her combination of brains, competence and people skills.

She is widely liked throughout the country, and I believe she would bring a high profile to Ireland on the global stage.

I also think that she’d be a terrific advertisement for women as mothers. We need to be able to affirm that women can have what is considered to be a large family these days – and still fulfil their intellectual and professional potential.

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