Michael Daniel Higgins, known universally as Michael D., who looks certain to become Ireland’s next president, is 70 years old and a native of Limerick. When he was just five years old his father’s alcoholism forced his family to move him to a relative’s farm in Clare where he was brought up.
He was educated in Clare at St.Flannan’s College and then went to University College Galway.
He became well known as a political figure there, and stayed on to become a lecturer at the college.
In 1969 and 1973 he ran unsuccessfully for the Labor Party. for the Irish parliament
In 1973 he was appointed to the Irish senate by upper house of the parliament by the then Prime Minister Liam Cosgrave.
He was elected to the Irish parliament in 1981.and also served as Mayor of Galway for two terms.
In 1993 he became Minister for the Arts and his major achievement was scrapping the controversial Section 31 which banned Sinn Fein from the airwaves.
He also revitalized the Irish Film Board and and created TG4, the all Irish television station.
He was a noted critic of American foreign policy in the Reagan era as well as during the Bush administration.
As well as having a successful political career Higgins has also had a career as a poet, author and broadcaster.
He wrote and presented a television film on Montserrat, entitled "The Other Emerald Isle" for Channel 4 and his documentary on the life of Noel Browne, for RTÉ, has also been screened.
Higgins has had poems published in a number of periodicals, as well as publishing three collections of his poetry, including, The Betrayal (1990), his second book of poems The Season of Fire and his latest book An Arid Season.
Higgins' eclectic mix of interests also extend to sport, he is a regular at the Galway Races each summer and is the president and director of Galway United Football Club, who play in the League of Ireland.
He is the subject of the song "Michael D. Rocking in the Dáil" by popular band The Saw Doctors.
The song first appeared as a B-side on the 1994 single "Small Bit of Love" and is also on the 2002 compilation Play It Again, Sham!.