Ireland recently went to the polls to elect a new President as the second 7-year term of the current president, Mary McAleese, expires soon. The new President, Michael D Higgins, will be inaugurated on November 11th. Ireland’s system of government is much more like the UK’s than the USA’s, though, which means that the real head of government is the Taoiseach (pronounced something like “Tee-shuck), whose job is the same as the Prime Minister in the UK. The President does have several important responsibilities, but almost all of them require the approval of the government. Although there is very little that the President of Ireland can do on their own, they do play a significant role in representing the country and in the past were instrumental in the peace process with the UK during the so-called “troubles” in Northern Ireland.