Michael D. Higgins
Overview
 
Michael Daniel Higgins is the ninth and current President of Ireland
President of Ireland
The President of Ireland is the head of state of Ireland. The President is usually directly elected by the people for seven years, and can be elected for a maximum of two terms. The presidency is largely a ceremonial office, but the President does exercise certain limited powers with absolute...

, having taken office on 11 November 2011 following victory in the 2011 Irish presidential election. Higgins is an Irish politician, poet, sociologist, author and broadcaster. Higgins was President of the Labour Party
Labour Party (Ireland)
The Labour Party is a social-democratic political party in the Republic of Ireland. The Labour Party was founded in 1912 in Clonmel, County Tipperary, by James Connolly, James Larkin and William X. O'Brien as the political wing of the Irish Trade Union Congress. Unlike the other main Irish...

 until his resignation following the presidential election. He was formerly a Teachta Dála
Teachta Dála
A Teachta Dála , usually abbreviated as TD in English, is a member of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas . It is the equivalent of terms such as "Member of Parliament" or "deputy" used in other states. The official translation of the term is "Deputy to the Dáil", though a more literal...

 (TD) for the Galway West constituency and served as Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht from 1993 to 1997.
Higgins was born in Limerick
Limerick
Limerick is the third largest city in the Republic of Ireland, and the principal city of County Limerick and Ireland's Mid-West Region. It is the fifth most populous city in all of Ireland. When taking the extra-municipal suburbs into account, Limerick is the third largest conurbation in the...

.
Encyclopedia
Michael Daniel Higgins is the ninth and current President of Ireland
President of Ireland
The President of Ireland is the head of state of Ireland. The President is usually directly elected by the people for seven years, and can be elected for a maximum of two terms. The presidency is largely a ceremonial office, but the President does exercise certain limited powers with absolute...

, having taken office on 11 November 2011 following victory in the 2011 Irish presidential election. Higgins is an Irish politician, poet, sociologist, author and broadcaster. Higgins was President of the Labour Party
Labour Party (Ireland)
The Labour Party is a social-democratic political party in the Republic of Ireland. The Labour Party was founded in 1912 in Clonmel, County Tipperary, by James Connolly, James Larkin and William X. O'Brien as the political wing of the Irish Trade Union Congress. Unlike the other main Irish...

 until his resignation following the presidential election. He was formerly a Teachta Dála
Teachta Dála
A Teachta Dála , usually abbreviated as TD in English, is a member of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas . It is the equivalent of terms such as "Member of Parliament" or "deputy" used in other states. The official translation of the term is "Deputy to the Dáil", though a more literal...

 (TD) for the Galway West constituency and served as Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht from 1993 to 1997.

Early life

Higgins was born in Limerick
Limerick
Limerick is the third largest city in the Republic of Ireland, and the principal city of County Limerick and Ireland's Mid-West Region. It is the fifth most populous city in all of Ireland. When taking the extra-municipal suburbs into account, Limerick is the third largest conurbation in the...

. When his father's health grew poor, with alcohol a contributing factor, his mother sent Higgins, aged five, and his four-year-old brother to live on his unmarried uncle and aunt's farm near Newmarket on Fergus, County Clare
County Clare
-History:There was a Neolithic civilisation in the Clare area — the name of the peoples is unknown, but the Prehistoric peoples left evidence behind in the form of ancient dolmen; single-chamber megalithic tombs, usually consisting of three or more upright stones...

. His older twin sisters remained in Limerick. He was educated at Ballycar National School, County Clare; St. Flannan's College
St. Flannan's College
Saint Flannan's College is an Irish secondary school located in Ennis, County Clare. Formerly an all-boys boarding school, the first girls class was entered in 2002 and in 2005 the boarding school was closed. In 2003 an extension which added over 20 new rooms to the college was completed...

, Ennis
Ennis
Ennis is the county town of Clare in Ireland. Situated on the River Fergus, it lies north of Limerick and south of Galway. Its name is a shortening of the original ....

; University College Galway
National University of Ireland, Galway
The National University of Ireland, Galway is a constituent university of the National University of Ireland...

 (UCG); Indiana University
Indiana University Bloomington
Indiana University Bloomington is a public research university located in Bloomington, Indiana, in the United States. IU Bloomington is the flagship campus of the Indiana University system. Being the flagship campus, IU Bloomington is often referred to simply as IU or Indiana...

; and Manchester University. As an undergraduate at UCG, he served as Vice Auditor of the College's Literary and Debating Society in 1963–1964, and rose to the position of Auditor in the 1964–1965 academic year. He also served as President of UCG Students' Union
NUI, Galway Students' Union
The NUI Galway Students' Union / Comhaltas na Mac Léinn, OÉ, Gaillimh is the representative body of students in the National University of Ireland, Galway in Ireland.-The Union:...

 in 1964–65.

Higgins holds a graduate degree in sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

. In his academic career, he was a Statutory Lecturer in the Department of Political Science and Sociology at University College Galway and was a Visiting Professor at Southern Illinois University
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Southern Illinois University Carbondale is a public research university located in Carbondale, Illinois, United States. Founded in 1869, SIUC is the flagship campus of the Southern Illinois University system...

. He resigned his academic posts to concentrate fully on his political career.

He is a fluent speaker of the Irish language
Irish language
Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

.

Family life

His wife, the actress Sabina Coyne, grew up in rural County Mayo
County Mayo
County Mayo is a county in Ireland. It is located in the West Region and is also part of the province of Connacht. It is named after the village of Mayo, which is now generally known as Mayo Abbey. Mayo County Council is the local authority for the county. The population of the county is 130,552...

. She developed an interest in theatre and trained using Stanislavski's system. Higgins met Coyne in 1969 at a party in the home of journalist Mary Kenny
Mary Kenny
Mary Kenny is an Irish author, broadcaster, playwright and journalist. She was a founder member of the Irish Women's Liberation Movement, though she has modified her radical past, but not rejected feminist principles....

. Higgins proposed at Christmas 1973 and they got married the year after. They have four children: Alice Mary, twins John and Michael Jnr, and Daniel.

Seanad and Dáil Éireann

Higgins originally joined Fianna Fáil
Fianna Fáil
Fianna Fáil – The Republican Party , more commonly known as Fianna Fáil is a centrist political party in the Republic of Ireland, founded on 23 March 1926. Fianna Fáil's name is traditionally translated into English as Soldiers of Destiny, although a more accurate rendition would be Warriors of Fál...

 in UCG while a mature student
Adult learner
Adult learner or mature learner is a term used to describe any person socially accepted as an adult who is in a learning process, whether it is formal education, informal learning, or corporate-sponsored learning.Adult learners are considered distinct from child learners due...

; he switched to the Labour Party shortly thereafter. He was a Labour candidate in the 1969
Irish general election, 1969
The Irish general election of 1969 was held on 18 June 1969. The newly elected members of the 19th Dáil assembled at Leinster House on 2 July when the new Taoiseach and government were appointed...

 and 1973 general election
Irish general election, 1973
The Irish general election of 1973 was held on 28 February 1973. The newly elected 144 members of the 20th Dáil assembled at Leinster House on 4 March when the new Taoiseach and government were appointed....

s but was unsuccessful on both occasions. One of the people who canvassed for him was future leader of the Labour Party
Labour Party (Ireland)
The Labour Party is a social-democratic political party in the Republic of Ireland. The Labour Party was founded in 1912 in Clonmel, County Tipperary, by James Connolly, James Larkin and William X. O'Brien as the political wing of the Irish Trade Union Congress. Unlike the other main Irish...

 and Tánaiste
Tánaiste
The Tánaiste is the deputy prime minister of Ireland. The current Tánaiste is Eamon Gilmore, TD who was appointed on 9 March 2011.- Origins and etymology :...

, Eamon Gilmore
Eamon Gilmore
Eamon Gilmore is an Irish Labour Party politician and the current Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade. He has been the Leader of the Labour Party since September 2007, and a Teachta Dála for the Dún Laoghaire constituency since 1989, first with the Workers' Party of Ireland, and...

, who was then a UCG student. Higgins was appointed in 1973 to the 13th Seanad Éireann
Members of the 13th Seanad
This is a list of the members of the 13th Seanad Éireann, the upper house of the Oireachtas of Ireland. These Senators were elected or appointed in 1973, after the 1973 general election and served until the close of poll for the 14th Seanad in 1977.-Composition of the 13th Seanad:There are a...

 by Taoiseach
Taoiseach
The Taoiseach is the head of government or prime minister of Ireland. The Taoiseach is appointed by the President upon the nomination of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas , and must, in order to remain in office, retain the support of a majority in the Dáil.The current Taoiseach is...

 Liam Cosgrave
Liam Cosgrave
Liam Cosgrave is an Irish Fine Gael politician who served as Taoiseach and as Leader of Fine Gael . He was a Teachta Dála from 1943 to 1981....

. He was first elected to Dáil Éireann
Dáil Éireann
Dáil Éireann is the lower house, but principal chamber, of the Oireachtas , which also includes the President of Ireland and Seanad Éireann . It is directly elected at least once in every five years under the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote...

 at the 1981 general election
Irish general election, 1981
The Irish general election of 1981 was held on 11 June 1981, three weeks after the dissolution of the Dáil on 21 May. The newly elected 166 members of the 22nd Dáil assembled at Leinster House on 30 June when a new Taoiseach and government were appointed....

 as a Labour Party TD. He was re-elected at the February 1982 election; he lost his seat at the November 1982 election but returned to the Seanad on the NUI
National University of Ireland (constituency)
National University of Ireland is a parliamentary constituency in Ireland, through which graduates of the National University of Ireland have elected members of various legislative bodies including currently Seanad Éireann.-Summary:...

 panel. He served as Mayor of Galway
Galway
Galway or City of Galway is a city in County Galway, Republic of Ireland. It is the sixth largest and the fastest-growing city in Ireland. It is also the third largest city within the Republic and the only city in the Province of Connacht. Located on the west coast of Ireland, it sits on the...

 on two occasions, 1982–1983 and 1991–1992. Within the Labour Party during the 1980s he was one of the main figures along with Emmet Stagg
Emmet Stagg
Emmet Stagg is an Irish Labour Party politician. He is currently a Teachta Dála for the Kildare North constituency and Labour Party Chief Whip.-Early life:...

 who opposed going into coalition.

Higgins returned to the Dáil at the 1987 general election
Irish general election, 1987
The Irish general election of 1987 was held on 17 February 1987, four weeks after the dissolution of the Dáil on 20 January. The newly-elected 166 members of the 25th Dáil assembled at Leinster House on 10 March when a new Taoiseach and government were appointed.The general election took place in...

 and held his seat until the 2011 general election. In 1993 he joined the Cabinet as Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht
Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs is a senior minister at the Department of Children and Youth Affairs in the Government of Ireland.The current Minister for Children and Youth Affairs is Frances Fitzgerald, TD.-Overview:...

. During his period as Minister he scrapped the controversial Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act, re-established the Irish Film Board
Irish Film Board
The Irish Film Board is Ireland’s national film agency and major film funding body. It was recommended for abolition by the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes in 2009.-Formative years:...

 and set up the Irish language television station, Teilifís na Gaeilge (subsequently renamed TG4
TG4
TG4 is a public service broadcaster for Irish language speakers. The channel has been on-air since 31 October 1996 in the Republic of Ireland and since April 2005 in Northern Ireland....

). In 2000, he was appointed to the the Labour Party front bench. In 2003, Higgins succeeded Proinsias De Rossa
Proinsias De Rossa
Proinsias De Rossa is an Irish Labour Party politician and Member of the European Parliament for the Dublin constituency. He a former President of the Workers' Party and subsequently leader of Democratic Left, and later, a senior member of the Labour Party. He was Minister for Social Welfare from...

 as President of the Labour Party, while continuing as the party's spokesman on foreign affairs.

With a presidential election
Irish presidential election, 2004
The Irish presidential election of 2004 was set for 22 October 2004. However, nominations closed at noon on 1 October and the incumbent president, Mary McAleese, who had nominated herself in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, was the only person nominated. Accordingly, she was...

 looming in 2004 Higgins indicated his willingness to run as a Labour Party candidate. The party decided on 16 September 2004 against running a candidate in the election.

In October 2010, he announced he would not be standing at the 2011 general election. He had until this point been living in a modest two-bed apartment at Grattan Hall on Mount Street, Dublin. He also has a family home in Galway.

2011 presidential campaign

In September 2010 Higgins indicated that he was interested in receiving the Labour Party's nomination for the 2011 presidential election. He said prior to the election campaign, and repeated during it, that he would serve only one seven year term as President, and would not seek a second term of office, despite being entitled to do so.
He was selected as candidate for the presidency at a special convention in Dublin on 19 June 2011, beating former senator Kathleen O'Meara and former party adviser Fergus Finlay
Fergus Finlay
Fergus Finlay was for some years the chef de cabinet of the Irish Labour Party, and is the chief executive of the charity Barnardo's in Ireland. He is also a weekly columnist with the Irish Examiner and the author of a number of books....

. His candidacy was endorsed by Hollywood actor Martin Sheen
Martin Sheen
Ramón Gerardo Antonio Estévez , better known by his stage name Martin Sheen, is an American film actor best known for his performances in the films Badlands and Apocalypse Now , and in the television series The West Wing from 1999 to 2006.He is considered one of the best actors never to be...

, who described Higgins as a "dear friend". Higgins assisted his rival David Norris by urging his party colleagues on Dublin City Council
Dublin City Council
Dublin City Council is the local authority for the city of Dublin in Ireland. It has 52 members and is the largest local authority in Ireland. Until 2001, it was known as Dublin Corporation.-Legal status:...

 not to obstruct Norris's attempts to get onto the ballot at the last moment "in the interests of democracy", adding that the nomination criteria were "outdated".

Higgins was confronted by former Tara mines workers while canvassing in Meath. The workers were upset about their pensions being cut. Higgins was also pursued by his past links to the Fianna Fáil party, and admitted on 13 October that he had been elected chairman of the the UCG
National University of Ireland, Galway
The National University of Ireland, Galway is a constituent university of the National University of Ireland...

 Fianna Fáil university cumann
Cumann
A cumann is the lowest local unit or branch of a number of Irish political parties. The term cumann may also be used to describe a non-political association....

 in 1966. While at university in the United States he had, he admitted, smoked marijuana. However, media reports said he was "spared the intense grilling Miriam O'Callaghan
Miriam O'Callaghan
Miriam O'Callaghan is an Irish television current affairs broadcaster, chat show host and radio presenter with Raidió Teilifís Éireann . She has presented the leading current affairs show, Prime Time, since 1996, and her own chat show, Saturday Night with Miriam, since 2005...

 meted out to some of the others" during the Prime Time
Prime Time
Prime Time is an Irish news analysis, current affairs and politics programme. It is broadcast on RTÉ One on Tuesday and Thursday nights between 21:30 and 22:10. It is currently presented by Miriam O'Callaghan, who has presented the programme since its commencement in 1996...

debate. Higgins promised he would be a neutral president if elected and not be a "handmaiden" to the government. The Labour Party's budget for the campaign was within €320,000.

On 29 October 2011, two days after the presidential election was held, Higgins was declared the winner with a total of 1,007,104 votes, far more than any Irish politician in the history of the republic. Thousands of people lined the streets of Galway to welcome him home the following day. International media coverage of his win reported his humble background, poetry, intellect and short stature (he stands 5 in 4 in (162.56 cm)), with The Washington Post noting "local satirists sometimes depict him as an elf, hobbit or leprechaun talking in riddles and verse". He is the first President of Ireland to have served in both Houses of the Oireachtas having previously been a member of Dáil Éireann
Dáil Éireann
Dáil Éireann is the lower house, but principal chamber, of the Oireachtas , which also includes the President of Ireland and Seanad Éireann . It is directly elected at least once in every five years under the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote...

 (Lower House) and Seanad Éireann
Seanad Éireann
Seanad Éireann is the upper house of the Oireachtas , which also comprises the President of Ireland and Dáil Éireann . It is commonly called the Seanad or Senate and its members Senators or Seanadóirí . Unlike Dáil Éireann, it is not directly elected but consists of a mixture of members chosen by...

 (Upper house). He is to have a presidential dog, a Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog, called in German the Berner Sennenhund, is a large breed of dog, one of the four breeds of Sennenhund-type dogs from the Swiss Alps. The name Sennenhund is derived from the German "Senne" and "hund" , as they accompanied the alpine herders and dairymen called Senn...

 puppy named Bruno.

Before his inauguration he and his family met his predecessor Mary McAleese
Mary McAleese
Mary Patricia McAleese served as the eighth President of Ireland from 1997 to 2011. She was the second female president and was first elected in 1997 succeeding Mary Robinson, making McAleese the world's first woman to succeed another as president. She was re-elected unopposed for a second term in...

 and her husband Martin
Martin McAleese
Martin McAleese is a member of Seanad Éireann and the husband of the former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese.-Early life and education:He played with the Antrim Minors and was captain of the team in 1969. He trained and worked as an accountant and then qualified as a dentist.He practiced as a...

 for lunch at the Áras on 3 November. That night, he presented an award to Niall Tóibín
Niall Toibin
Niall Tóibín is an Irish comedian and actor. Born in Cork into an Irish speaking family, Tóibín grew up on the north-side of the city in Bishop's Field. He has appeared in Ryan's Daughter, Bracken, The Irish R.M., Caught in a Free State, Ballykissangel, Far and Away, and Veronica Guerin, and has...

, and received his own standing ovation as he entered the Irish Film Institute
Irish Film Institute
The Irish Film Institute is both a film theatre and a national body that supports Irish Film heritage. It maintains an archive of Irish films and provides education in film culture. It shows independent and foreign language films overlooked by commercial multiplexes at its cinema in the Temple Bar...

. On 5 November, he attended an important football game, featuring his beloved Galway United versus Monaghan United in the second leg in the League of Ireland promotion/relegation play-off at Terryland Park
Terryland Park
Terryland Park is a multi-purpose stadium in Galway, Ireland, owned by the Galway & District Football League. It is currently used for association football matches and has been the home ground of Galway United since 1977.- History :...

, wrapped in the scarf of his favourite team, and being greeted by a large banner hanging from a stand declaring "Welcome home to Galway, Mr President".

Presidency

Higgins was inaugurated
Presidential Inauguration (Ireland)
The Presidential Inauguration is the Irish state formal ceremony by which the President of Ireland takes office. While in hereditary monarchies coronations are symbolic ceremonies, the new monarch's reign having already begun upon the death or abdication of the previous monarch, the Irish...

 as President of Ireland at Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle off Dame Street, Dublin, Ireland, was until 1922 the fortified seat of British rule in Ireland, and is now a major Irish government complex. Most of it dates from the 18th century, though a castle has stood on the site since the days of King John, the first Lord of Ireland...

 on 11 November 2011 giving a speech as part of the ceremony. The ceremony had a humanist
Humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

 element, alongside Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

, Jewish and Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 ones.

He travelled to Derry to attend the final of the all-island school choir of the year competition on 13 November 2011, for his first official presidential engagement north of the border.

Higgins is to receive approximately €250,000 per annum, more than his French, Russian and German counterparts Nicolas Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy is the 23rd and current President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra. He assumed the office on 16 May 2007 after defeating the Socialist Party candidate Ségolène Royal 10 days earlier....

, Dmitry Medvedev
Dmitry Medvedev
Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev is the third President of the Russian Federation.Born to a family of academics, Medvedev graduated from the Law Department of Leningrad State University in 1987. He defended his dissertation in 1990 and worked as a docent at his alma mater, now renamed to Saint...

 and Christian Wulff
Christian Wulff
Christian Wilhelm Walter Wulff is the President of Germany and a politician of the Christian Democratic Union. He was elected President on 2010 and publicly swore the oath of office on . A lawyer by profession, he served as Premier of the state of Lower Saxony from 2003 to 2010.-Early life and...

. After assuming office, the President wrote to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is a department of the Government of Ireland. It is led by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform who is assisted by one Minister of State....

 to request that his salary be reduced by 23.5 percent from €325,000 to about €250,000.

Other work

Higgins has campaigned for human rights and written of conflict in many parts of the world, including such areas as Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

, Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

, Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

, El Salvador
El Salvador
El Salvador or simply Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. The country's capital city and largest city is San Salvador; Santa Ana and San Miguel are also important cultural and commercial centers in the country and in all of Central America...

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and Somalia
Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

. He spoke in the Dáil in defence of the 2010 Gaza Freedom Flotilla
Gaza Freedom Flotilla
The Gaza Freedom Flotilla, organized by the Free Gaza Movement and the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief , was carrying humanitarian aid and construction materials, with the intention of breaking the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the Gaza Strip.On 31 May 2010,...

. In recognition of his work for peace with justice in many parts of the world, he became the first recipient of the Seán MacBride
Seán MacBride
Seán MacBride was an Irish government minister and prominent international politician as well as a Chief of Staff of the IRA....

 Peace Prize of the International Peace Bureau in Helsinki in 1992. He was a noted and articulate critic of U.S foreign policy under the Ronald Reagan administration. In 2005, in response to a column for The Irish Times
The Irish Times
The Irish Times is an Irish daily broadsheet newspaper launched on 29 March 1859. The editor is Kevin O'Sullivan who succeeded Geraldine Kennedy in 2011; the deputy editor is Paul O'Neill. The Irish Times is considered to be Ireland's newspaper of record, and is published every day except Sundays...

by Kevin Myers
Kevin Myers
Kevin Myers is an Irish journalist and writer. He writes for the Irish Independent and is a former contributor to The Irish Times, where he wrote the "An Irishman's Diary" opinion column several times weekly...

 about the riots then erupting across immigrant areas in France and Britain, he said "the contents of his column today go beyond his usually crafted cowardice, staying one step on the safe side of prosecution for incitement to hatred or racism."

As well as having a successful political career Higgins has also had a career as a poet, author and broadcaster. He has contributed widely to political and philosophical journals on many subjects including ideology, the sociology of literature, clientism in politics, regionalism and the politics of the media.

He wrote and presented a television film on Montserrat, entitled The Other Emerald Isle for Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

 and his documentary on the life of Noel Browne
Noel Browne
Noël Christopher Browne was an Irish politician and doctor. He holds the distinction of being one of only five Teachtaí Dála to be appointed Minister on their first day in the Dáil. His controversial Mother and Child Scheme in effect brought down the First Inter-Party Government of John A...

, for RTÉ
Raidió Teilifís Éireann
Raidió Teilifís Éireann is a semi-state company and the public service broadcaster of Ireland. It both produces programmes and broadcasts them on television, radio and the Internet. The radio service began on January 1, 1926, while regular television broadcasts began on December 31, 1961, making...

, has also been screened. Higgins has had poems published in a number of periodicals, as well as publishing three collections of his poetry, including, The Betrayal (1990), his second book of poems The Season of Fire (2004) and his latest book An Arid Season (2004).

Higgins's eclectic mix of interests also extend to sport, he is a regular at the Galway Races
Galway Races
The Galway Races is an Irish horse-racing festival that starts on the last Monday of July every year. Held at Ballybrit Racecourse in Galway, Ireland over seven days, it is the longest of all the race meets that occur in Ireland....

 each summer and is the president and director of Galway United Football Club, who play in the League of Ireland
League of Ireland
The League of Ireland is the national association football league of the Republic of Ireland. Founded in 1921, as a league of eight clubs, it has expanded over time into a two-tiered league of 22 clubs. It is currently split into the League of Ireland Premier Division and the League of Ireland...

.

He is the subject of the song "Michael D. Rocking in the Dáil" by popular Tuam
Tuam
Tuam is a town in County Galway, Ireland. The name is pronounced choo-um . It is situated west of the midlands of Ireland, and north of Galway city.-History:...

 band The Saw Doctors
The Saw Doctors
The Saw Doctors are an Irish rock band. Formed in 1986 in Tuam, County Galway, they have achieved eighteen Top 30 singles in Ireland, including three number ones. Their first number one, "I Useta Lover," topped the Irish charts for nine consecutive weeks in 1990, and still holds the record for the...

. The song first appeared as a B-side on the 1994 single "Small Bit of Love" and is also on the 2002 compilation Play It Again, Sham!.

External links



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