Ireland elects as president poet Michael Higgins, who was against the American war in Iraq, protested against visiting President Ronald Reagan and rallied against Israel’s maritime embargo of the Hamas terrorist authority in Gaza.
He won a cantankerous election that was characterized by personal insults and charges of corruption among other candidates.
One of his biggest disadvantages in vying for the mostly ceremonial position was his age. Higgins is 70, and the term of office is seven years.
If he carries out his vow to remain “neutral,’ Higgins will not continue his activity, at least not publicly, against Israel. As a Member of Parliament, he said the embargo against terrorist smuggling was illegal.
He also condemned Israel for “illegal” sovereignty over parts of Jerusalem restored to the Jewish state in Six-Day War in 1967.
Additionally, Higgins said he is not a spokesman for Hamas but that there is a difference between the “political wing” and those who favor what he called “military action.”
His opposition in the race for president included businessmen accused of corruption, a former IRA leader, a Eurovision song contest winner and an eccentric, among others.
As Labor’s Irish foreign affairs spokesman, he condemned the Iraq war, arguing it was an act of “destruction on the civil society of Iraq.” He stated, “George Bush, you are not welcome in Ireland.”
Former American George Hill, who lives in Ireland, told Arutz Sheva that Higgins “is the most anti-American president Ireland has ever had… He's been at the forefront of organized protests and rallies directed at America for 30 years… During Reagan's short visit in June 1984, Higgins was a keen participant in the protests against Reagan at Shannon Airport, in Galway and then outside the Dáil (parliament) in Dublin when Reagan was speaking there.”
Hill added, “ While he hasn't been a fan of a number of America's presidents, he has allied himself with some of America's enemies. He has been an admirer of Fidel Castro's regime in Cuba, cited Castro favorably in the Dáil and simultaneously demanded that America lift its embargo on trade with Cuba. He also courted Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega. Higgins was also a supporter of the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua and in 1989 he hosted Nicaragua's Sandinista President Daniel Ortega in his own home."
“In 2004 he took part in a candlelight vigil to mourn the death of Yasser Arafat.”