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Happy Birthday President Higgins

By rareAdmin, Saturday, 18th April 2015 | 0 comments
Filed under: Today in Irish History, People .























Happy Birthday to President Michael D. Higgins, born on this day in 1941.

Here are some things you may not have known about our President.

Michael was born in Limerick. When his Father's health grew poor, with alcohol a contributing factor, his mother sent 5 year old Michael and his 4 year old brother to his Uncle and Auntie's farm in County Clare where he grew up.

While studying at university in the US he admitted to smoking marijuana.

He served as Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht from 1993 to 1997. 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 (name known as TG4).

He is a fluent Irish speaker.

His candidacy for President in 2011 was endorsed by Hollywood actor Martin Sheen, who described Higgins as a "dear friend".

Higgins assisted his Presidential race rival David Norris by urging his party colleagues on Dublin City Council 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to get onto the ballot at the last moment "in the interests of democracy", adding that the nomination criteria were "outdated".

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.

After assuming office, Michael wrote to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to request that his salary be reduced by 23.5 percent from €325,000 to about €250,000.

He has a presidential dog, a Bernese Mountain Dog named Bruno.

His wife, Sabina Coyne, is an actress and a native of Cloonrane, a townland in County Galway. Higgins met Coyne in 1969 at a party. Higgins proposed over Christmas 1973 and they were married the year after. They have four children - Daniel, Alice-Mary and twins John & Michael Jr.

Higgins has campaigned for human rights and written of conflict in many parts of the world, including such areas as Nicaragua, Chile, Cambodia, El Salvador, Iraq and Somalia.

Lá breathlá shona duit Michael D !