MICHAEL D Higgins described it as a great honour after he was officially declared re-elected as President of Ireland for a second term on Saturday in Dublin Castle.
After a sometimes heated Presidential campaign with six candidates in the running, Higgins was re-elected comprehensively for a second term with a total of 822,566 votes (55.8%).
Although the Galway man won with a landslide victory, the numbers who came out to vote were the lowest-ever in a Presidential election.
Overall, 1,492,338 people (43.87pc) of the electorate turned up to the ballot box on Friday making it the lowest ever for a Presidential vote.
That compares to the 56% of voters who made their voices heard at the 2011 Presidential election.
Peter Casey, who was heavily criticised for his remarks about the Traveller community in the run up to the Election, was in second place with 23.35 of the vote, Seán Gallagher received 6.4%, Sinn Féin’s Liadh Ní Riada also received 6.4%, while Joan Freeman came in with 6% first preference votes with Gavin Duffy on 2.2%.
In Sligo/Leitrim, there was a valid poll of 41,988 with the breakdown as follows; Higgins (49.1%), Casey (26.%), Gallagher (8.9%), Ní Riada (7.6%), Freeman (5.9%) and Duffy (2%).
Ireland also voted to remove the term blasphemy from the Constitution nationally with 64.8% of the population in favour, while 35.1% were against.
In Sligo/Leitrim it was slightly closer with 56% voting in favour while 44% voted against.
In terms of votes, that was broken down to 23,380 for and 18,297 against, with 844 invalid votes.
After it was officially declared at Dublin Castle on Saturday that Michael D Higgins was re-elected for a second term, among the first to send congratulations was Taoiseach Leo Varadkar who said he was really happy Michael D Higgins will continue to be President of Ireland for the next 7 years.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May also sent congratulations and said she looks forward to continuing to build on the close and unique ties between our countries in the years ahead.
In his emotional acceptance speech, President Higgins said the presidency does not belong to one person but to the people of Ireland and said it was a great honour for him to be our President for another 7 years. “The people have made a choice as to which version of Irishness they want reflected at home and abroad. It is the making of hope they wish to share rather than the experience of any exploitation of division or fear.
“The presidency belongs not only to any one person but to the people of Ireland. I will be a president for all the people, for those who voted for me and those who did not.
“I am so proud of this country, I am proud to be a president for all of you and with all of you, and I look forward with joy and hope to all that we will achieve together,” he added.
President Higgins is the first president since Eamon de Valera in 1966 to be re-elected to serve a second term in office.
Opening the boxes at the Election Count in Summerhill College on Saturday. Pic: Carl Brennan.
President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina after his re-election to the office of the President. Pic:Gerry Mooney.
Michael D Higgins supporters at the Election Count in Summerhill College on Saturday.Pic: Carl Brennan.
Voting underway in Strandhill National School on Friday morning.