Michael D Higgins, 70 year old former Labour Party TD for Galway West. A poet, author and broadcaster and a Gaelic speaker. He has been Minister for An Gaeltacht (Gaelic speaking areas) in the Irish Cabinet.
Simply known as “Michael D”, he is I supposed much respected beyond the Labour Party. Yet his membership of the Labour Party might be a problem for him. The Labour Party is the junior partner in the Fine Gael-led Coalition Government and junior partners do not do well in Coalition. The austerity policies of the Government are having a negative impact on Irelands poor, Labours natural constituency.
Although running second in the polls, Michael D remains favourite. He will pick up transfers from across the board. Popular with the Media, a “National Treasure” he seems genuinely surprised that his age has been made an issue. Anxious to appear to be scrutinising all candidates equally the Media have challenged Higgins on his support for the Palestinians. Higgins describes himself as “spiritual but not religious”.