Belfast Telegraph

Thousands to welcome new President

Thousands of people have celebrated the success of President-elect Michael D Higgins during a homecoming in Galway city.

Young and old braved the weather during an open air event on Eyre Square.

The 70-year-old Labour veteran, his wife Sabina and party leader Eamon Gilmore were among the guests of honour at the massive street party.

Mr Higgins said: "I think the important thing now is for us to have a celebration and then with determination move in to our common shared different future.

"And I hope at the end of the seven years people will say I have been of some inspirational value to them at home in terms of inclusively and abroad I look forward to representing Ireland."

His wife, who cried when her husband's win was formally announced in Dublin Castle on Sunday evening, said the election turnout and his support was huge. "I'm feeling so happy for Michael, myself and for the Irish people," she said. "I think they said a big yes and everywhere people were weeping and crying and celebrating."

Mr Higgins secured more than a million votes after transfers from four counts. It was the largest total in a presidential election.

The poet, professor and campaigner, will be inaugurated on November 11. His victory came after one of the most remarkable political comebacks ever.

He seized an unprecedented 15% swing in support following the spectacular implosion of his biggest rival, independent Sean Gallagher, on live television in the final days of the campaign.

The former TD vowed to lead the country in a necessary transformation away from values based on wealth and said his seven-year term as head of state will be defined by efforts to turn inclusion into reality.

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