Michael D. Higgins Re-Elected
Irish President Michael D. Higgins has been re-elected for a second term after receiving 56 percent of the country’s vote on October 26. He was first elected in 2011 and will now serve another seven years. The inauguration took place Sunday, November 11, at Dublin Castle. This year, the inauguration coincided with the centenary of the end of World War I, and the President had therefore asked that the ceremony be held in the evening to facilitate those who wished to attend Armistice Day commemorations.
Higgins was the first incumbent in 50 years to face a challenge in his re-election. Businessman Peter Casey came in second with 23.1 percent of the vote. Casey got a boost in the polls after he made controversial comments about the Travellers community, comments that many initially thought would derail his campaign. Before the comments, he was polling at about two percent.
Higgins is a veteran politician, having served as Mayor of Galway, Teachta Dála, and senator. He has used his time in office to address issues concerning justice, social equality, social inclusion, sectarianism, racism and reconciliation.
Higgins said he accepted the outcome with “humility, determination, and excitement.” He added, “People are interested in ideas that are sincere and constructive. For words matter, words can hurt, words can heal, words can empower, words can divide.” ♦ Maggie Holland