New Irish President Michael D Higgins is in the wars – and faces his very own Battle of Wounded Knee in a Galway hospital on Tuesday.

The President has finally admitted that he needs surgery on a knee injury sustained when he slipped on wet tiles during a humanitarian trip to Colombia.

The 70-year-old had limped his way through the election campaign but will now undergo surgery to repair his knee at the Bon Secours Hospital in his hometown.

The former Labor Party Minister will undertake planned state functions on Sunday and Monday before travelling West. He will stay for a week in hospital as he recovers from the surgery.

President Higgins and his family will then spend his first Christmas in the Aras with his family.


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The presidential knee and the Higgins gait was the subject of much speculation during the election campaign.

Having injured the knee when he fell on wet tiles in Columbia, Higgins battled on during his tiring tour of the country in the lead-up to his success at the polls.

One American orthopaedic surgeon even offered Higgins some free advice when they met on Grafton Street during the hustings.

Stuart Gordon, from Pennsylvania, discussed the injury and heard Higgins describe how it happened near the city of Bogota.

Gordon told reporters at the time that thought Higgins was doing very well.

“I am pleased to see how vital he is and how brave he was when he had the knee surgery. He looks good. This is because of the wonders of modern orthopaedic surgery techniques and because he has a lot of heart,” said surgeon Gordon in October.

“He has a bit of a limp but he seems to have a good gait and he has a nice, nice cadence to his gait.”