Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

President-elect's victory speech

President-elect, Michael D Higgins, is hugged by his wife Sabina after his election victory is announced at Dublin Castle

Here is an edited version of President-elect Michael D Higgins' victory speech from the National Count Centre in Dublin Castle after securing 1,007,104 votes.

"I will be a President for all the people and from this moment I will cease to be a member and president of the Labour Party, a party which has informed my thinking and the ethos of my life, a party whose centenary, founded by James Connolly and James Larkin, will be celebrated next year.

"For the presidency is an independent office and the Irish people, of which I appreciate so much, and, I think with this responsibility, have given a very clear mandate on a very clear set of ideas to me as the ninth President of Ireland.

"The mandate I have received and for which I will speak with heart and head to implement over the next seven years had its four pillars - an inclusive citizenship, equality and participation and respect in a creative society creating an excellence in everything we Irish do.

"Making an Irishness to be proud of in a real Republic. It is the vision of a real Republic where life and language, where ideals and experience have the ring of authenticity which we need now as we go forward.

"And during a long campaign, which for me as I have said was almost 14 months since I first sought a nomination for the Labour Party, I saw and felt and feel the pain of the Irish people.

"I recognise the need for a reflection on those values and assumptions often carelessly taken, that they brought us to a sorry path in social and economic terms for which such a high price has been paid and is being paid.

"I recognise the right to anger but I also saw the need for healing and to move past recrimination.

"I love our shared island, our shared Ireland and its core decency. I love it for its imagination and its celebration of the endless possibilities for our people.

"Ireland has made its choice for the future and it has chosen the version of Irishness it will build. I know, and I will work with head and heart to be part of it with all of you in creating that future one in which all of us can be part of and part of us too."

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