The Sligo Champion - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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