Michael D. Higgins is the incumbent President of Ireland, a Nuclear Suppliers Group member nation. He has been in the office since 11 November 2011. Previously, Higgins was Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht (1993 – 1997), Teachta Dala (1987 – 2011 and 1981 – 1982) and a Senator (1983 – 1987 and 1973 – 1977).
Early Life and Education
Michael D. Higgins was born on 18 April 1941 to a Lieutenant father John and a housewife mother. Because of father’s ailing condition, Higgins had to live with his uncle since the age of 5. He went to Ballycar National School for early education.
After graduating from high school, Higgins joined the University College, Galway for an undergraduate degree. Later, he entered Indiana University Bloomington for a Master’s degree in sociology. At some point, Higgins also went to the University of Manchester. Over a period of this academic career, he acquired fluency in Irish, English, and Spanish languages.
Michael D. Higgins is a married man with four children. He and his wife, Sabina Coyne, met at a party in 1969 and married in 1974. The couple had three sons and a daughter.
Early Life and Education
Before venturing fully into the Irish politics, Michael D. Higgins was a professor at the Southern Illinois University and a statutory lecturer at the University College Galway. As a member of the Labour Party, Higgins left the academic career and ran in the 1969 and 1973 general elections. Unfortunately, he failed both times. After losing the 1973 elections, Higgins was appointed to the 13th Seanad Eireann and was subsequently elected to Dail Eireann in 1981. He also worked in the capacity of Mayor of Galway from 1982 to 1983 and 1991 to 1992.
Leaving Galway’s Mayoral position, Higgins ascended the post of Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht in 1993 and served in the office until 17 November 1994. Starting 15 December 1994, Higgins again joined the Ministry as a successor of Bertie Ahern. In 2000, he became a front seater and, in 2003, he commenced as President of the Labour Party. Although Higgins intended to run for President in 2011, the Labour party board decided not to participate. Hence, 2011 presidential election was his next awaited year.
Endorsed by Martin Sheen, campaigning for people’s welfare, spending around €320,000 and beating the opposition leaders, Michael Higgins won the presidential election with a record number of votes i.e. 1,007,104 votes. All national and international media provided pervasive coverage of his transition and inaugural. Higgins assumed the office on 11 November 2011.
As soon as he entered the office, Higgins requested for a reduction in his salary from €325,000 to €250,000. Some people see it as a publicity stunt, however some see the move as his modesty. In December, a month after taking the office, President Higgins organized a tea party for children. Likewise, in February 2012, he went for a visit to London and met English leaders. In March, same year, Higgins was honored with the position of sole patron of RTE National Symphony Orchestra.
As Irish representative, Michael D. Higgins set out for a visit to Latin American countries in October 2012. He met Argentinian, Brazilian and Chilean authorities and held talks regarding bilateral relations with them. Most importantly, Higgins became the first Irish president ever to visit the UK. He had a chance to talk to British PM David Cameron and stay at Windsor Castle. In December 2014, Higgins also had a brief visit to China.
Besides being a politician, Higgins is also an adept poet and writer. Some of his works are:
- The Betrayal, 1990
- The Season of Fire, 1993
- An Arid Season, 2004
- Causes for Concern, 2007
- New and Selected Poems, 2011
- Renewing the Republic, 2011
- The Prophets are Weeping, 2014
Trump and Higgins
Michael D. Higgins is not an exception – like every other leader, he too opposes Donald Trump. In a tweet, he wrote ‘Little Bitch’ which was initially speculated to refer to President Trump. later, Higgins clarified, “I wanted to convey to Trump directly that he is a little bitch, so I wrote ‘little bitch’ to point out what a little bitch the little bitch was.”