Northern Ireland news

President Michael D Higgins turns 80

Irish president Michael D Higgins celebrated his 80th birthday yesterday. Picture Mal McCann

IRELAND'S president Michael D Higgins has celebrated his 80th birthday.

Mr Higgins was first elected president in 2011 and won a second term in 2018.

Born in Limerick on April 18, 1941, he was elected to the Dáil as a Labour Party TD in 1981.

He served in the Dáil for 24 consecutive years between 1987 and 2011.

The father-of-four said he had no plans to mark the landmark.

"I haven’t any plans. My plans are somewhat limited," he told the Irish Independent.

"One of my sons will be with me, and Sabina (his wife)," he said. "TG4 have some wonderful musicians lined up so I’ll definitely watch that."

TG4 aired a one-hour music and arts special in honour of the birthday, featuring performances from poets, musicians, playwrights and dancers.

Van Morrison and former president Mary Robinson were among those who took part.

In a Late Late Show interview on Friday, President Higgins said Sabina had changed his life "in so many ways", and that they were looking forward to meeting their grandchild when restrictions are lifted.

The couple married in 1974 and have four children together - Alice Mary, twins John and Michael Jr. and son Daniel.

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