President Michael D Higgins was in Galway for a private gathering with family, friends and members of his election campaign team.

He said his first seven years as president had flown by and he looked forward to introducing a new programme for the next seven years.

The former Galway West TD returned to his political heartland with his wife Sabina after receiving a resounding mandate for a second term in Áras an Uachtaráin.

He addressed a gathering of family, friends and his campaign team, including members of the Labour party in Galway, the arts community, his brother John Higgins, who lives in Clare, and his daughter Alice Mary Higgins, who was his strategic adviser.

He has promised to be a president for "all of the people", saying this was a time of great transformation and he spoke of the importance of nurturing empathy, compassion, inclusiveness and solidarity.

He made history in the recent Presidential Election by topping the poll in every constituencies. He was re-elected with 822,566 votes, giving him 56% of the poll.

It is the highest vote received by a candidate in any of the eight presidential elections in the history of the State.