Belfast Telegraph

Irish president Michael D Higgins admits being homesick after 'sudden' departure

By Fionnan Sheahan

Irish president Michael D Higgins admitted last night he was homesick for Galway and found it tough to settle in to Aras an Uachtarain.

Mr Higgins said he left the City of the Tribes "suddenly" after the presidential election.

The president said his wife, Sabina, is very important in all his activities in office.

"And she has made a very good transition and what she is saying is I have found it a bit tougher to leave Galway, and I left Galway quite suddenly because the election had been pushed out a week because of the referendums and that meant you had a shorter period between the result of the election and the inauguration than you'd normally have.

"So I just really hadn't a chance to pack very quickly. I was down in Galway since for a Galway United match, about which we won't say much ... and for the Connacht-Toulouse Heineken Cup match, and they were very valuable," he told TV3's Vincent Browne.

Mrs Higgins said the family were "eased into" the Aras by all the staff.

"The house has a life of its own, an activity and a rhythm all of its own, and it's all geared towards the presidency. Michael was missing Galway a lot because I had a bit more time.

"I didn't realise it at first that there was a part of the house that was our house, private, you know.

"And that would be our home and Michael must think of coming home to there," she said.

In his Christmas message, Mr Higgins said he has been honoured to serve the people of a country, who he is confident will rebuild a sustainable and strong economy and a just and inclusive society.

Mr Higgins acknowledged the hard times being suffered by families, but was optimistic for the future.

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