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Michael D. Higgins TD


Incumbent
Assumed office 
February 1987
In office
June 1981 – November 1982
Constituency Galway West

In office
February 1983 – February 1987
Constituency National University of Ireland
In office
June 1973 – May 1977
Constituency Nominated by the Taoiseach

Born 18 April 1941 (1941-04-18) (age 68)
Limerick, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Political party Labour Party
Spouse(s) Sabina Coyne
Alma mater University College Galway,
Indiana University,
Manchester University

Michael Daniel Higgins (born 18 April 1941), known in Irish as Micheál D. Ó hUigínn, or informally as Michael D., is an Irish Labour Party politician. He is currently a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Galway West constituency,[1] Labour Party President and spokesperson for Foreign Affairs. He is a former Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht.

Contents

Early life

Michael D. Higgins was born in Limerick. He and his family moved to County Clare when he was 5 years old. He was educated at Ballycar National School, Co. Clare, St. Flannan's College, Ennis; University College Galway, Indiana University and Manchester University. Serving as Vice Auditor of the College's Literary and Debating Society in 1963–1964, he rose to the position of Auditor in the 1964–1965 academic year. He also served as President of UCG Students' Union in 1964–65. Before entering politics he worked as Statutory Lecturer in Political Science and Sociology at University College Galway, and Visiting Professor at the Southern Illinois University.

Political career

In 1973 Higgins was appointed to Seanad Éireann by the then Taoiseach, Liam Cosgrave. He was first elected to Dáil Éireann at the 1981 general election as a Labour Party TD. He was re-elected at the February 1982 election but lost his seat at the November 1982 election but returned to the Seanad on the NUI panel. He served as Mayor of Galway on two occasions, 1982–1983 and 1991–1992.

Higgins returned to the Dáil at the 1987 general election and has held his seat ever since.[2] In 1993 he joined the Cabinet as Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht. During his period as Minister he scrapped the controversial Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act, re-established the Irish Film Board and set up the Irish language television station, Teilifís na Gaeilge (subsequently renamed TG4). In 2000 he received his current position on the Labour Party front bench. In 2003 Higgins succeeded Proinsias De Rossa as Labour Party President, while continuing as Party spokesman on foreign affairs.

With a Presidential election looming in 2004 Higgins indicated his willingness to run as a Labour Party candidate. However, the party decided on 16 September 2004 against running a candidate in the election, much to the disappointment of many in the Labour Party.

Other work

Higgins has campaigned for human rights and written of conflict in many parts of the world, including such areas as Turkey, Western Sahara, East Timor, Nicaragua, Chile, the West Bank and Gaza, Peru, El Salvador, Iraq and Somalia. In recognition of his work for peace with justice in many parts of the world, he became the first recipient of the Seán MacBride Peace Prize of the International Peace Bureau in Helsinki in 1992.While ferociously critical of Ronald Reagan, a leading commentator said his ferocious indignation "would always diminish to a fluttering breeze" when talking about the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan or the Soviet treatment of its Jewish population.[3]

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 and his documentary on the life of Noel Browne, for RTÉ, 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", in 1990, his second book of poems "The Season of Fire" and his latest book "An Arid Season".

Higgins' eclectic mix of interests also extend to sport, he is a regular at the Galway Races each summer and is the President and director of Galway United Football Club, who play in the League of Ireland.

He is the subject of a song (Michael D. Rocking in the Dáil from their 2002 album Play It Again, Sham!) by popular Tuam band The Saw Doctors.

References

External links

Civic offices
Preceded by
Claude Toft
Mayor of Galway
Dec. 1981–1982
Succeeded by
Pat McNamara
Preceded by
Angela Lynch-Lupton
Mayor of Galway
1990–1991
Succeeded by
Michael Leahy
Oireachtas
Preceded by
New seat in constituency
Labour Party Teachta Dála for Galway West
1981–1982
Succeeded by
Fintan Coogan, Jnr
(Fine Gael)
Preceded by
Fintan Coogan, Jnr
(Fine Gael)
Labour Party Teachta Dála for Galway West
1987–
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
John Wilson
Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht
1993–1994
Succeeded by
Bertie Ahern
Preceded by
Bertie Ahern
Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht
1994–1997
Succeeded by
Síle de Valera







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