President Higgins denies bias in lecture
on 24/09/2013 11:39:05
Mr Higgins vowed to continue to speak out on the issue and hit out at those who disagreed with him for turning the debate into personal abuse.
The President's lecture at Dublin City University almost two weeks ago led to accusations that he was biased in favour of left wing thinkers and economics.
"It would just be such a complete distortion to say that I extolled left writers at the cost of writers of the right. Those words don't occur at all," he said.
"It was not a speech it was a lecture - the opening lecture in an eight lecture series on ethics."
The President said people need to get past allocating blame and ask the questions on why decisions were made.
"I was disappointed that there were one or two quite conscious distortions of what I said. The best thing people can do is go to the website at DCU and see the lecture itself or look at it as I gave it and form their own opinion," he told RTE Radio.
"We must be able to differ with each other without descending into polemic or unfortunately, in one or two places, personal abuse.
"I think, just to be very clear, the first theme I had in the presidency is to be young and Irish, the second is in fact living ethically and constructing an ethics for our time and our future and, yes, I will be speaking more about ethics."
In the DCU lecture, Toward an Ethical Economy, Mr Higgins urged that economic decisions be based on fairness, not wealth.
He said he wanted to encourage debate in the media and suggested that the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis may not lie in a lack of the right answers to a crisis of capitalism but in an absence of the right questions.
It is not the first time during his presidency that Mr Higgins has defended his right to speak out on issues of public concern.
Following the death of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar after she was a refused an abortion as she miscarried, the President urged a thorough investigation and said he hoped women would be safer in the wake of her death.
He also spoke out on the European Union's response to the financial crisis in a speech in May.
Under constitutional rules the President is obliged not to make political comment.