News & Media

The Labour Party wishes President Higgins a very happy birthday

18 April 2021

Statement by Alan Kelly TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Health and Disability Services

Marking President Higgins’ 80th birthday, Labour Leader Alan Kelly has paid tribute to President Higgins, noting the role he has played in making Ireland a better place.

Deputy Kelly said:

“I want to wish President Higgins a very happy birthday on this special day for Ireland. President Higgins continues to serve the people of Ireland and has been an example to us all of “misneach” throughout the pandemic. Before his presidency, President Higgins pushed for real social and economic change as a Senator, TD and Minister, and remains the embodiment of the Labour Party values of decency, devotion to economic and social equality and commitment to justice.

“The first Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, no one person has done more for Irish heritage and culture than Michael D. Higgins. His commitment to Ireland’s rich culture is unparalleled. The impact of his devotion to our national language remains though the establishment of TG4 and the creation of jobs and promotion of economic development in our Gaeltachataí.

"Michael D. Higgins re-established the Irish film industry, thus providing essential access for our actors, producers, designers, musicians and technicians and, through his funding of a rich network of arts and cultural venues throughout the State, his action continues to inspire the imagination and skills of Irish people today.

“As we approach the occasion of 1st May, or May Day, the impact President Higgins has had on workers’ rights in this country cannot be overstated, campaigning fiercely as a Labour TD in 2010 against the reduction in Ireland’s minimum wage. President Higgins has continued to use his position as President to campaign for the protection of vulnerable workers and particularly workers during the pandemic.

“From when President Higgins first stood for election for the Labour Party in 1969 to now, President Higgins continues to campaign for the equality of opportunity between men and women, protecting the vulnerable, less fortunate and disabled in society and in defending fundamental freedoms across the globe in recognition of the dignity of all human beings. His example and work continues to guide us in the Labour Party.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to pay particular tribute and extend thanks to President Higgins’ wife Sabina whose activism and campaigning is an example to us all. Her presence in the Áras is just a crucial for the people of Ireland.

“The pandemic has driven home the urgent need in Ireland for a radically inclusive society, that regards citizenship as built on equality, as valuing solidarity and rooted in caring. President Higgins has led that charge by example in Áras an Uachtaráin and I hope to continue to lead the Labour Party following the inspiration he provides us all. Lá bretithe shona duit Michael D.”