President Michael D Higgins attacked the EU as part of his oath to do everything in his power for the welfare of Ireland, he has declared.
Amid government support for his outspoken remarks, the President insisted he was not overstepping any constitutional line.
“There is no difficulty at all as far as I am concerned about what I am doing in terms of it being both positive and being clearly within what I think is both proper and right and constitutional,” he said.
“I do think nobody would thank any of us for looking on a very serious situation in Europe, be it unemployment or poverty, or institutional inflexibility or whatever, and to not put our thruppence into the debate.”
In an interview with the Financial Times, the President attacked EU leaders for lumping banking debts on to taxpayers and he also criticised the ECB.
Speaking outside a human rights award ceremony in Dublin, he said he was not deliberately seeking out issues to comment on other than what he felt to be necessary.
Mr Higgins said that on taking office, his oath committed him to use all his abilities for the welfare of the people of Ireland.
Mr Higgins said he also had meetings every six weeks with Taoiseach Enda Kenny about what was happening in Ireland and Europe, during which he passed on the views of people he had met around the country as part of his duties.