Michael D Higgins elected President of Ireland

Saturday 29 October 2011 22.37
Michael D Higgins got 701,101 first preference votes
Michael D Higgins got 701,101 first preference votes

Labour's Michael D Higgins has been officially elected to the office of President of Ireland.

The announcement at the national count centre in Dublin Castle came after the completion of the fourth count this afternoon.

Mr Higgins, who won more than 1m votes, thanked the people of Ireland, the Labour Party and the Independent Oireachtas members who supported him.

He said that he and his family were ready for the challenge of the Presidency and would "give it everything".

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Mr Higgins will be an outstanding President and personality during his seven-year term.

Four of the six losing candidates used their speeches to pay tribute to the man who will succeed Mary McAleese and become Ireland's ninth President.

Seán Gallagher said Mr Higgins would make a superb President, Martin McGuinness described him as a man of great intellectual capacity and Dana Rosemary Scallon wished him well.

Senator David Norris said he was a "political millionaire" after getting 1m votes.

Mary Davis and Gay Mitchell were not present at the declaration this afternoon.

Mr Higgins will be back at Dublin Castle for his inauguration on Friday 11 November.

Follow RTÉ on Twitter: @RTE_Elections
RESULTS: Presidential results by constituency

As it happened: Presidential Election and referendums

2200 Watch reports and analysis on the day's events from the Nine News

2030 Statement from Minister for Justice Alan Shatter on the Judges' Pay referendum:

“I welcome the substantial public support for the Government’s proposal on judges’ pay.

I was struck during the run up to the ballot by the appreciation that this proposal was fundamentally about fairness and ensuring that our judiciary were not perceived as immune from the financial difficulties affecting the state that have impacted on the pay of thousands of public servants.

People were also anxious to ensure the continued protection of the independence of the judiciary and understood that the Constitutional Amendment that is now approved by the people would not in anyway undermine that crucial independence which is of vital importance to us all.”

2010 The Referendum on Oireachtas inquiries has been defeated.

There were 928,175 votes (53.3%) against and 812,008 votes (46,7%) in favour.

2008 Tweet from Joe Mag Raollaigh: "5 mins 2 final count on oir inquiries ref... looks like a defeat for government. No gov mins or politicians at Castle"

1959 Correction (referendum.ie amended its figures): 79.7% voted in favour of the amendment, with 20.3% voting against.

1946 Jim Fahy details Higgins' long career as a human rights campaigner.

1945 Michael D Higgins tells Six-One that he will be a 'President for all'.

1940 Referendum results from 25 of the 43 constituencies show that 53.6% have voted against the referendum on Oireachtas Inquiries; 46.4% have voted in favour.

Final result is expected within the next half hour.

RTÉ's Joe Mag Raollaigh reports that there are no Government ministers or members in Dublin Castle at the moment.

1933 There was a difference of 4,731 votes between the number of votes cast in the Presidential election when compared with those cast in the referendums.

This may reflect reports of some voters handing back referendum papers at polling booths.

The total poll in the Presidential election was 1,790,438 while the referendum poll was 1,785,707.

1920 The referendum on Judges' Pay has been passed by a considerable margin.

1,785,707 votes cast
37,696 invalid
1,748,011 valid

1,393,877 in favour
354,134 against

1914 A spokesperson for Mary Davis said that she congratulated Michael D Higgins yesterday and spent today with her family.

1912 From Joe Mag Raollaigh on Twitter: "Actually only judges pay result within minutes. Up to an hour before we'll have oireachtas inquiries"

1904 President-elect Michael D Higgins will attend a reception at the Meyrick Hotel in Eyre Square, Galway at 4.30pm tomorrow.

1849 Referendum results from 22 constituencies show that 53.9% have voted against the referendum on Oireachtas Inquiries; 46.1% have voted in favour.

Meanwhile results from 35 constituencies show that people have voted overwhelming in favour of the referendum on Judges' Pay: 79.8% in favour, 20.2% against.

1825 Count centre staff say that 35 of 43 constituencies have returned referendum results at this stage. The remaining eight are expected by 7pm.

1820 The army is to present President-elect Michael D Higgins with formal notification of his election as President outside his Dublin home 7:15pm.

1817 Joe O'Brien has been looking back at Mary McAleese's 14 years as President.

1815 At a news conference in Dublin Castle a short time ago, the President-elect Michael D Higgins said one of his first priorities will be to participate at a seminar to discuss issues facing young people; such as mortgages, unemployment and suicide.

He said he wants to pursue 'ideas' while in office and said there was now a positive mood in the country to move beyond recrimination.

Mr Higgins said he would work to create a positive hope.

1812 Referendum results from 29 constituencies show that people have voted overwhelming in favour of the referendum on Judges' Pay: 79.7% in favour, 20.3% against.

1806 President-elect Michael D Higgins is currently talking to Bryan Dobson live on the 6.1 News (available to watch above)

1759 Referendum results from 16 of 43 constituencies show that almost 54% have voted AGAINST the referendum on Oireachtas Inquiries - an just over 46% have voted in favour.

These results include the latest from Cork East, Cork North West, and Cork South West.

It was a close affair in Cork South West with 49% of the electorate voting in favour of the referendum, and 51% against.
874 votes separated the yes from the no vote.

So far Wexford is the only constituency to have voted in favour of the referendum by the narrowest of margins : 50.1% in favour, and 49.9% against.

1748 Referendum results from 13 constituencies show that people have voted overwhelming in favour of the referendum on judges' pay: 79.9% in favour, 20.1% against.

1737 President Mary McAleese has congratulated Mr Higgins on his election as her successor.

"On my own behalf and on behalf of the Irish people, I warmly congratulate Michael D Higgins, our new President-elect.

"His success in the Presidential election marks the start of an exciting chapter for our country, our global Irish family and for the Higgins family. To Michael D, Sabina and their children, I send my very best wishes and prayers for the years ahead."

1732 Responding to a question asked during a press conference, Michael D Higgins has said he currently does not intend to run for a second term in office in seven years.

He also said he felt there were moments when the Presidential campaign became somewhat ageist and this concerned him.

1725 Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina Coyne were on Miriam Meets in January 2010.

1715 Galway United has congratulated its club president on his "sensational victory".

"The Management Committee, staff, squad and supporters wish Michael D, wife Sabina and family the best of luck in this new chapter of their lives. As he always has - we know Michael D will do us proud."

1712 We've put together a gallery of Michael D Higgins images from down through the years.

Michael D Higgins

1709 David McCullagh: It may have taken a day and a half to complete the count, but it turned out to be a record breaker, with Michael D Higgins accumulating more than one million votes by the end of the fourth count.

In his remarks at Dublin Castle, Mr Higgins said he would be a President of all the people - who he said had given him a very clear mandate.

1703 Referendum results from 8 of 43 constituencies show that almost 54% have voted AGAINST the referendum on Oireachtas Inquiries.

Just over 46% voted in favour so far.

1653 Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore are now congratulating the President-elect.

Kenny quotes from Higgins' poem - The Minister's Black Car - "Well now - you've all given him one ... I hope he's worried about the carbon footprint."

1647 Michael D Higgins: "This campaign we can never forget, involved an choice of which Ireland we wanted to be."

1643 President-elect Higgins says he will also be President for those who did not vote for him, and for emigrants.

"Always in my mind too, will be those who have gone away - and I will be their President too."

1639 President-elect Michael D Higgins begins with a few words in Irish - and expresses his thanks to the people of Ireland and to the members of the Labour party who nominated him.

"I am particularly grateful to the more than million people who said that i am acceptable to them as the ninth President of Ireland."

"I will be a president for all the people and from this moment I will cease to be a member of the Labour Party."

1638 Dana Rosemary Scallon takes the stage to thank her campaign staff, family and supporters.

"It's been a great honour to be nominated ... i give my best wishes to all the other candidates."

1637 "He got over one million votes - and that tells you something about Michael D Higgins" says David Norris

"I got a hundred thousand votes ... and that result has invigorated me"

1631 Martin McGuinness: "It's been a real privilege and honour for me to stand for the presidency of my country."

"Michael D will be a very fine President ... I have every confidence that he will one of Ireland's finest Presidents"

1629 " This has been a challenging campaign" Sean Gallagher tells the crowd at Dublin Castle.

" We brought a message of something new and fresh into Irish politics."

1626 Michael D Higgins has officially been declared President.

1622 Michael D Higgins arrives at Dublin Castle to cheers and applause.

1621 Four of the losing candidates have arrived at Dublin Castle for the declaration - Dana Rosemary Scallon, David Norris, Martin McGuinness and Sean Gallagher.

It is understood Mary Davis and Gay Mitchell will not be attending the declaration.

1610 The Wicklow constituency has just completed a pre-emptive recount with regard to votes cast on the Oireachtas Inquiry referendum.

Returning officer Patricia Casey stated that although there is a "clear-cut result in Wicklow", there are indications that the vote is extremely close in other count centres - hence her direction to staff to recount the ballots.

She also stated that whatever the overall result, the recounting of ballots would be "a valuable experience for counters as a recount was not such a common occurence."

1556 Fourth count RESULT: Higgins 1,007,104 (+213,976) and Gallagher 628,114 (+79,741)

1554 Joe Mag Raoillaigh: Gallagher and Scallon at count centre. Word is Davis won't be here. Michael D in the area and Taoiseach also due shortly.

1552 Live declaration expected soon. RTÉ TV will be live on air shortly in the player at the top of this page.

1537 Although no comprehensive tally has been carried out in many constituencies on the two referendums, it seems certain that the one on judicial pay will be comfortably passed.

However, the referendum on Oireachtas Inquiries will be much tighter - and in many constituencies the suggestion is that it will be narrowly defeated.

These included Waterford, the three Cork County constituencies, Dublin South Central, Dublin South East and Dublin Central, Galway East, Wicklow, Kildare North, Limerick City.

The Limerick constituency is expected to narrowly approve the amendment, while the tallies say it is very even and could go either way in Kildare South, Louth and Wexford.

1528 Higgins has now exceeded the quota by over 100,000 votes. Count continues. Declaration expected approximately 4.15pm

1525 The vote counters take a well-deserved break at the Kidare count centre (credit Michael Donnelly):

Check out our Your Photos gallery and keep sending your images to yourphotos@rte.ie.

1507 Bryan Dobson: Áras election count trucking along - 4th counts from 34 of 43 constituencies. We'll go live on RTÉ One TV with the declaration when it comes.

1506 David McCullagh has written a fine piece charting the rise and fall of Seán Gallagher during the Presidential race.

1455 Former Fianna Fáil Minister for Foreign Affairs David Andrews has said he supported Michael D Higgins in the Presidential election.

Mr Andrews said his friendship with Mr Higgins goes back a long way and he supported him on a personal basis. They had both travelled abroad together on many human rights visits.

1443 Joe Mag Raoillaigh: Count officials flying along - they say final result will be known by 1615

1434 With fourth count results in from 19 of the 43 constituencies, Michael D Higgins has now passed the quota to be elected President.

However, the result will not be officially announced until the remaining constituencies have completed their counts and the results are compiled at the national count centre. The quota was 885,882.

1415 With 15 constituencies finished the fourth count, Higgins is just 16,848 votes short of the quota. Counting continues in 28 constituencies.

1412 From observation of ballot papers, it looks certain that the Oireachtas inquiries referendum will be defeated in all three Cork county constituencies.

1411 It appears that there is an overwhelming 'Yes' vote to judges' pay and an overwhelming 'No' vote to Oireachtas inquiries in three constituencies: Dublin South Central, Dublin South East and Dublin Central.

1408 Minister Brendan Howlin has acknowledged that there was some confusion with the ballot paper arising from the lack of detail about the amendment.

The minister said the Government had to learn from that to have a better engagement to ensure absolute clarity.

He said there was need for a parliamentary system to find the truth and expose wrongdoing where it exists and to hold public servants to account in a proper and democratic way.

1404 Fourth count results from 10 constituencies complete.

1355 The fourth count has started in Waterford but count staff are expected to break for lunch shortly. The count will resume after lunch.

1352 Listen back to Marian Finucane and guests discuss the elections and referendums.

1341 Want some more stats? Here are the in-depth results of the RTÉ/Red C Recall poll released yesterday.

1321 David McCullagh: It took three hours this morning to distribute David Norris's 116,000 votes; now count staff around the country have to work through just over 400,000 votes won by Martin McGuinness and Gay Mitchell.

A final result is not likely before late afternoon, but the result hasn't been in doubt throughout this marathon count.

1305 There is a special live Presidential Election 2011 programme playing the player link above.

1257 It looks like it could be a few hours before we have a final result. You could alway try our Presidential Quiz if you're at a loose end.

1239 His final 7.7% share of the vote means that Gay Mitchell - like David Norris, Dana Rosemary Scallon and Mary Davis - will not be entitled to claim back his €200,000 in election expenses.

1229 And then there were two. Higgins and Gallagher are the only two candidates left in the race. Higgins is currently on 793,128 votes and Gallagher has 548,373. Quota is 885,882. While the end result is known, the count is set to continue.

1217 Both Mitchell and McGuinness excluded.

Mitchell and McGuinness

1214 Third count RESULT: Higgins 793,128 (+62,648); Gallagher 548,373 (+18,972); McGuinness 265,196 (+12,585); Mitchell 136,309 (+8,952)

1155 All 43 constituencies have completed the third count. Awaiting results now.

1147 Minister Alan Shatter has said the Oireachtas inquiries amendment is a complex issue and the Government should have explained it to a greater degree.

The negativity about the referendum only emerged in the last ten days, he said, and some of it came from a lawyer's analysis, which presumed bad faith and that politicians would ignore the rights of individuals.

Mr Shatter said the eight former Attorneys-General who had criticised the amendment has spoken ex cathedra and suggested that members of the Oireachtas could not be trusted.

Attention had been taken away from the issue during the campaign because of the Presidential election, he added.

1143 Counting in the referendums is complete in Louth. It's understood there is a substantial majority in favour of the referendum on judges' pay, while the vote is much tighter in relation to Oireachtas powers.

1142 Waiting on third count results from just three constituencies.

1131 The referendum on judges' pay looks set to be passed in both Limerick constituencies.

While counting in both referenda has been completed at the count centre in Limerick, the result cannot be sent to Dublin until after the presidential election has concluded.

Local sources have indicated that the referendum on judges' pay was supported by five to one in Limerick city and four to one in the Limerick constituency, which is made of rural Co Limerick.

It is understood the referendum on Oireachtas inquiries was narrowly defeated by voters in Limerick city, while voters in Co Limerick voted to support the amendment, but again by a narrow enough margin.

Judges' pay

1123 Justice Minister Alan Shatter has described the outcome of the Presidential election as a ''stunning victory'' for Michael D Higgins.

Mr Shatter said he will make a ''fantastic'' President.

Mr Higgins had a number of strings to his bow that go outside politics and had an individualised approach to the world, he added.

1103 Listen live to Marian Finucane as RTÉ radio coverage of the election continues - RTÉ’s Brian Dowling and Fergal Keane, Harry McGee of The Irish Times, and Minister Alan Shatter discuss the elections

1057 In Wicklow, sorting and counting in relation to both sets of referendum ballot papers has finished. Returning officer Patricia Casey has stated that there is a "clear result" with regard to each amendment.

1043 Cian McCormack reports that count staff at City West count centre say there is an almost equal split between 'Yes' and 'No' votes in the referendum on Oireachtas Inquiries.

However, after the sorting of votes, counter staff say there is anecdotal evidence that the 'No' vote may be slightly ahead.

There is no tally being carried out for the referendum in the City West count centre and therefore no figures are available.

1040 RTÉ Radio One election coverage resumes at 11am.

1039 The latest from Dublin Castle - 18 of 43 local counts completed.

1034 Tweet from @joemagraollaigh: Count 3 (dis. of Norris votes) progressing. 12 constits have completed. staff here say will be 1ish #rtenews #aras11

1031 The third count for Dublin South East, Dublin South Central and Dublin Central have been completed at the RDS. The returning officer has predicted a result at around 4pm.

1025 12 of 43 constituencies have now completed their third count.

1021 Picture from Joe Mag Raollaigh showing Michael D's backroom team checking the media coverage of victory as they await third count results

1018 As it stands after the second count: Higgins is on 731,175; Gallagher on 529,671; McGuinness on 252,805; Mitchell on 127,458. Waiting on count three to conclude.

1010 Third count at Galway East and Roscommon-South Leitrim completed.

1008 Joe Mag Raollaigh: The latest from the third count at the presidential count centre in Dublin castle is that 7 of 43 constituencies have completed the distribution of the votes of David Norris.

1001 Third count at Kerry North-West Limerick completed.

0952 Counters at the Waterford centre are in the process of redistributing Norris' 2,610 votes.

Yesterday's tallymen have estimated that a considerable number of those transfers will go to Michael D Higgins.

0943 The third count at the Greystones count centre in the Presidential election has just been completed.

Returning officer Patricia Casey instructed the 50+ counters to redistribute the votes of eliminated candidate David Norris.

4,811 votes were redistributed among the remaining candidates.

The sorting of ballot papers with regard to the two referendum counts has also been completed.

0942 Tallies and an RTÉ-RED C recall poll indicate that the referendum on judges' pay will be passed, but the referendum on Oireachtas inquiries could be too close to call.

0941 Michael D Higgins is currently 155,000 votes short of the quota.

0940 The final result in the Presidential election is expected to be announced later today. Although an exact time at which the count will be completed is not known, it is likely to be this afternoon.

0900 Counting resumes in the Presidential election with the distribution of the votes of David Norris.

0855 Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin has said he is concerned that the referendum on Oireachtas inquiries may be lost.

Speaking on Morning Ireland, Mr Howlin said he believed the result would be close.

Brendan Howlin concerned about Oireachtas inquiries referendum

"I'm concerned to be truthful about the thirtieth amendment. I know that some of the figures given out last night indicated that it would go down significantly in Wexford and it hasn't.

"So I think we don't know yet but if it's won it'll be very narrowly won and I think if it's lost it'll be narrowly lost. That means we didn't do our jobs sufficiently well."

0848 Fine Gael General Secretary Tom Curran says it's a very sobering day for the party. While Fine Gael is the biggest political party, it doesn't mean they will remain there, he said. 'We have to work to remain there'.

0825 David McCullagh says as many as 65% / 75,000 of Norris' transfers could go to Higgins, if yesterday’s Red C ''Recall'' poll for RTÉ is accurate.

On the Dublin West by-election, he says despite yesterday’s victory, Labour’s vote is actually down since the General Election.

0813 Morning Ireland will be reporting on the long night at Dublin Castle and discussing what people can expect from the new President

0808 Special election and referendum edition of Morning Ireland live now

0717 Send us your election images - yourphotos@rte.ie.

0714 Morning Ireland will be live on air from 8am-9am. Listen live here.

0700 Good morning! Welcome back to our live updates on the election count.

The Presidential election count resumes this morning at 9am, with Michael D Higgins looking certain to be elected President.

Did you miss the end of last night's proceedings? Here's a quick summary of what happened:

The result of the second count was announced in Dublin Castle just after 1.30am.

The first count took 12 hours; the second took four-and-a-half.

It will take some time yet before Mr Higgins is finally elected Ireland's ninth President.

He took a commanding lead on the first count, with 39.6% of the vote.

After the second count, which saw the distribution of the votes of the two lowest candidates (Mary Davis and Dana Rosemary Scallon), he is on just over 730,000 votes, still 155,000 votes short of the quota.

Count centres around the country will distribute David Norris' 116,000 votes this morning.

However, that will not be enough to elect Mr Higgins, so at least one more count will be required, with the distribution of Gay Mitchell's votes and possibly those of Martin McGuinness as well.

Once Mr Higgins is elected, the count in the two Constitutional referendums will begin. It will be another long day for election staff around the country!

Michael D Higgins pictured at Dublin Castle last night

0247 Labour's Patrick Nulty has been elected to the Dáil after the fifth count in the Dublin West by-election.

Nulty received 17,636 votes, 216 below the quota, with Fianna Fáil's David McGuinness coming in second with 11,590 votes.

0246 Tweet from RTÉ's Martina Fitzgerald: "patrick nulty elected. #dubw"

0222 David McCullagh: Count centres around the country will distribute David Norris's 116,000 votes - that won't be enough to elect Mr Higgins - so at least one more count will be required.

Once he is elected, the count in the two constitutional referendums will begin - another long day for election staff around the country.

0205 Julie O'Neill says watching Laurie Andersen live at Other Voices in Le Poisson Rouge NYC is a much easier way of staying awake for the Presidential count:

We're not jealous...honest. You know where we are - yourphotos@rte.ie.

0151 John Kilraine: The Dublin West by-election will now go to the fifth and final count following the elimination of Socialist Party candidate Ruth Coppinger.

Ms Coppinger and Fianna Fail's David McGuinness finished tied on 9,873 each after a rechecking of votes.

The Socialist Party had asked for a recount after she was found to be just 18 votes behind the Fianna Fáil candidate.

The recheck found errors in the transfer process bringing Ms Coppinger level.

But after consultation with both parties, returning officer John Fitzpatrick said he was eliminating Ms Coppinger under Section 122 of the Electoral Act which means the person with the highest first preference vote goes through.

Labour's Patrick Nulty is now on 13,027 votes going into the final count and is expected to be elected.

0142 The standing of the remaining five candidates after the Second Count:

Higgins: 730,480 votes (+29,379); Gallagher 529,401 (+24,437); McGuinness 252,611 (+9,581); Mitchell 127,357 (+14,036); Norris 116,526 (+7,057)

The quota is 885,882.

0137 The transfer the votes of Dana Rosemary Scallon and Mary Davis has been completed but Michael D Higgins has still not reached the quota - so the count has been adjourned until 9am.

David Norris will be excluded in the morning and his votes divided among the remaining four candidates.

0134 Richard Dowling: Dundalk has adjoured its count and will resume again at 9am.

0128 40 out of the 43 constituencies have now completed the second count.

We are STILL waiting for Dublin Mid West and Roscommon/South-Leitrim.

0114 Morning Ireland's Paul Ferris is being more productive with his time as he awaits the announcement at Dublin Castle

0109 Lisa McIntyre has resorted to playing snakes and ladders to keep herself awake:

Keep us busy by sending your images to yourphotos@rte.ie.

0056 39 of 43 constituencies have completed the second count. Staff in Dublin Castle say the outstanding four are due shortly but the annoucement of the completed second national count will not happen until at least 0120.

0052 John Kilrane has told Sean O'Rourke on RTÉ Radio 1 that, while currently unconfirmed, the recount in the Dublin West by-election appears to have left the Socialist Party's Ruth Coppinger and Fianna Fáil's David McGuinness tied for votes.

If that is the case the options are to have both candidates eliminated, which would see Labour's Patrick Nulty win the seat, or to have another recheck followed by a full recount.

0049 David McCullagh: The national result of the second count is expected to be announced shortly - it's likely that the count will then be adjourned until tomorrow morning.

The first count took 12 hours, the second count has taken four hours so far - Presidential election counts are not for the fainthearted.

0045 Mark O'Donohoe was unimpressed with the "locked and sealed" ballot boxes in Cork North West:

Keep them coming to yourphotos@rte.ie.

0037 Here is a graphic from Irish Political Maps showing the first preference votes for Michael D Higgins

0023 Joe Mag Raoillaigh: As there are still at least 10 constituencies to complete their second count, a spokeperson for the Presidential returning officer now says it will be at least 1am before the second national count will be announced.

On that basis its understood the count will then be adjourned until tomorrow morning.

0009 Sean O'Rourke is still flying the flag on RTÉ Radio 1 - Listen here

(Friday) 2358 Watch Dana's interview outside Dublin Castle.

2350 Transfers: Count 2 - 24 of 43 constituencies returned

FRIDAY UPDATES HERE