Michael D Higgins says he's well within his constitutional right to speak out about certain issues.
The President says he wasn't elected just to read speeches that were handed directly to him.
Critics have said he has strayed beyond his constitutional remit as President in recent comments about pay for members of the Defence Forces.
During a recent ceremony, President Higgins said it's not too much to expect that "serving men and women should have conditions including an income and prospects that are sufficient to provide for themselves and their families".
He also noted it is “no secret” that changes in working conditions have brought challenges for Defence Force members.
Some have claimed such remarks are the President wading into politics when he should be staying out of day-to-day issues.
However, speaking in New York, President Higgins defended his comments.
He observed: "I'm very, very much within the Constitution.
"One or two people.... said they'd like a President who just was handed the speeches to read out, or that they'd like a President who didn't have an opinion in anything like this.
"[But] 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 suggested voters instead wanted someone who wouldn't interfere in the work Government agencies would be doing, but would be conscious of "the vulnerabilities, prospects and hopes of the Irish people."
He added: "I'm the Supreme Commander of the [Defence] Forces... I see them arriving, and what I'm reading as well and hearing from their families and others is that I should be concerned - and I was concerned, and I said it very, very, very clearly."