Saturday 3 December 2016

President Michael D. Higgins is the king of Twitter after his Late Late Show appearance

Published 24/09/2016 | 12:59

Michael D. Higgins with Ryan Tubridy on RTE's The Late Late Show
Michael D. Higgins with Ryan Tubridy on RTE's The Late Late Show
Michael D. Higgins with Ryan Tubridy on RTE's The Late Late Show

President Michael D.Higgins was the undoubted star of The Late Late Show.

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Higgins was the first guest of the night on Ryan Tubridy's couch and earned a standing ovation after his honest interview, in which he discussed his childhood, modern Ireland and his plans to run for a second term.

He began by praising the people of Ireland for inspiring him, having met over 80,000 people since his inauguration in 2011.

"In any one year, I make 250 visits outside of the Aras around the country. I meet a lot of people - I looked at the figuress, since Novbember 29011 when I was inaugurated, figures show about 80,000 people have come through the Aras.

"I met a man today who has inoperable cancer and he came with his wife and mother-in-law and three small children and you couldn't but be moved by stories."

Over the last five years, he has noticed a change in attitudes of the people, saying: "When I became president first, I describe it as righteous anger and disappointment in the country and well as resilience. I think people feel better when they're looking after each other."

He would not confirm whether or not he is running for a second term in 2018 when his seven-year run is up, saying that any such confirmation would "interfere with the programme" of his plans for the next two years, before praising the support he's received during his first term so far.

"This is where I am with this question and it's honest of you to ask it too," he told Tubridy.

"Let's take 2016: the centenary events that I've been speaking at and meeting people from different circumstances, those were very important events - there are equally important events in 2017 and 2018.

"I will have made a decision by 2018. If I made any comment now, it would interfere with the programme that I have - invitations that I've accepted and things that I'm doing in 2017 and 2018."

"I've been getting enormous support for the people of Ireland. I've had a certain advance - both Sabina and I have lived all our lives publicly.

"What you have at any time is a community of vulnerabilities and it's very important to put your own vulnerabilities alongside others. We should be able to listen to each other without bad temper, we should be able to describe our anxieties and try to understand them.

"There is an assumption that things are too complex for people to understand - I think people can understand everything if it is put to them honestly and straightforward."

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