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'I am very much within the Constitution' - President Higgins defends comments on Defence Forces pay

The President has hit back at criticism that he has overstepped his role by talking about Defence Forces pay.

Michael D Higgins said the members of the Defence Forces should be paid sufficient wages.

The President is in New York for a series of meetings on Ireland's bid for a seat on the UN Security Council and to address the UN on behalf of the country tonight.

He has courted controversy recently, weighing in on the pay issues for the Defence Forces and farmers.

It has led to some in government speculating that he is overstepping his constitutional role, something the President denies.

President Higgins said: "I know very clearly what I am saying. I am very, very much within the Constitution."

After comfortably winning re-election last year, the President said he will keep doing what he's been doing.

He said: "The fact of the matter is, a very, very large number of people in Ireland decided that they wanted this kind of president."

President Higgins addresses the UN this evening,

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar also has morning meetings in New York before heading to LA to meet businesses, while the Tánaiste Simon Coveney is hosting a Brexit breakfast.