Higgins, Michael D

Poet, activist, sociologist, Mayor of Galway, Senator, TD, Minister and President of Ireland.

Born in Limerick in 1941, Michael D Higgins studied at University College Galway (UCG), University of Manchester and Indiana University Bloomington. He became a lecturer in Political Science and Sociology at UCG and was a visiting professor at Southern Illinois University. After deciding on a career in politics, he resigned his academic positions.

Throughout his career, he has been a vocal advocate for human rights, equality, peace and justice both in Ireland and overseas.

He was appointed to Seanad Éireann in 1973 and was first elected to Dáil Éireann in 1981 as a Labour Party TD for Galway West. He lost his seat in November 1982 and he returned to the Seanad. He was re-elected to the Dáil in 1987 and held his seat until 2011.

A lifelong advocate for the arts and the Irish language, he became the first Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht in 1993, a position which he held until 1997. His achievements in the role include the reinvigoration of the Irish film industry, the establishment of Teilifís na Gaeilge and the repeal of Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act.

Michael D Higgins became President of Ireland on 11 November 2011 and was re-elected in 2018.

He is married to actor Sabina Higgins since 1974.