A profile of Michael D Higgins TD, Mayor of Galway and Chairman of the Labour Party.

'Féach' accompanies Michael D Higgins back to parts of Clare and Limerick where he was born and raised and traces the development of his political thought and ideology.

Dr Noel Browne was a major influence, not only because of what he stood for, but the people he represented, and what he achieved for them,

I gcónaí thosnaigh sé ar na gnáthdaoine, leis na cosmuintir, agus bhí sé ag caint an t-am go léir ar ceard ba ceart a dhéanamh in Éireann.  Ní raibh sé ag caint, mar shámpla, ar cé atá, is féidir linn a dhéanamh, toisc go bhfuil an roinnt mead sin airgead ar fail dúinn.  Bhí rud galánta, agus intleacht galánta ag baint leis...

Michael D. Higgins has stood as a candidate in each general election since 1969, but the goal of a TD’s seat evaded him until 1982.  In reply to a question from reporter Éamon Ó Muirí, he is firm in his commitment to the Labour Party, and to the people with whom he works, 

Is maith liom bheith ag obair taobh le daoine eile...is fear liom fhéin bheith ag obair taobh istigh den páirtí, an Pártaí Sóisialach

No stranger to the Houses of the Oireachtas, he was nominated to Seanad Éireann in 1973 by then Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave, and served there until 1977. 

Politics is in his blood, as his father John took part in the War of Independence, and also fought in the Civil War.  

After his parents married, they settled in Limerick, and ran a pub on William Street in the city.  By the 1940s his father’s health started to decline, and circumstances became difficult for the family.   In 1946 Michael D., then aged 5, and his younger brother, aged 4, went to live with their aunt and uncle in Newmarket-on-Fergus, County Clare.  He remained there until he was 19, and feels very fortunate to have grown up in the countryside and surrounded by nature, 

Na nithí is cuimhin liom go mór, ná an dlúthbhaint a bhí againne le cúrsaí nádúrtha, agus...an múinteoir scoile a bhí againne chomh maith leis sin...

That teacher was Willie Clune in Ballycar National School, who also had a huge influence on him.  Michael D. Higgins fondly remembers the days when Mr Clune would take them out of the classroom and into the surrounding countryside, teaching the children the names of the trees and plants.  

Despite the idyllic surroundings, and the loving care and attention given to him and his brother by their aunt and uncle, young Michael D. missed his parents and sisters greatly, a memory that remains with him, 

Is cuimhim liom...seacht bhliain ina dhiaidh sin nuair a thainig mo deirfiúracha amach chun fanacht linn, agus bhí mé ag siúl ar an bother seo, agus bhí mo deirfiúr ag teangmháil lámh liom, agus thuig mé chomh mór, is chomh truálach atá sé, clann a bhriseadh suas.  Ghoill sé orm, cinnte.

This episode of 'Féach' was broadcast on 28 May 1982. The reporter is Eamonn Ó Muirí.

‘Féach’ was an Irish language current affairs programme which went out on RTÉ Television from 1967 to 1985.  Presenters and reporters were Breandán Ó hEithir, Prionsias Mac Aonghusa, Andy O’Mahony, Doireann Ní Bhriain,  Eamonn Ó Muirí, Mícheál Ó hUanacháin and Poilín Ní Chiaráin.