Michael D Higgins assumed the charge of President of Ireland in 2011. One of his first tasks was to ask for his salary to be cut down. He decided to donate almost a quarter of his salary to the state. The reason was the financial crisis that Ireland was reeling under then. He also donates all the pension he receives as a former member of the Congress. Earlier this week, he refused a proposed pay hike that he and other Congressmen are entitled to.
Higgins’ current annual salary amounts to €249,014, or around $270,350. His predecessor Mary McAleese had also taken a pay cut due to the same reason. After Higgins also partook of the reduced salary, the Irish government turned these Presidential donations into a mandated law. This means every future president will also be expected to donate similar amounts to the state coffers.
Its not just the president, all the ministers in Higgins’ cabinet also refused the increased salaries. “During his term in office, President Higgins has not drawn down, and will not draw down any pension entitlements arising from his previous services as member of the Oireachtas (the Irish Parliament) or as a Government minister,” said a spokesperson after the announcement made earlier this week. Since 2011, Higgins has reportedly given back more than €1m to the state.
Higgins’ actions have also inspired many of the other Congressmen and ministers to refuse the increased salaries that they are due to receive from April 2017. The Irish cabinet recently agreed to forego their pay increases of €4,000 a year.
HIGGINS AS PRESIDENT
As a president, Higgins has a legacy that goes beyond the economics. Partnering with United Nations, he has championed women’s rights in Ireland. He has often spoken against homphobia and racism. He was also the first Irish president to visit United Kingdom. Higgins has gained reputation as a humanitarian for as he has written about various conflicts around the world.
Inspiring, isn’t it? You don’t need to be in a position of power or authority, however, to help make the world a better place. A seemingly small, random act of kindness can do this, too. Come over to Crowdera for a chance to make a difference in someone’s life. Donate to a campaign, spread the word about some one doing good work or create a campaign to help someone in trouble.