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Michael D Higgins

Michael D. Higgins has officially been re-elected as president for a second term.

With 822,566 votes, President Higgins won by a 56 percent majority.

Following in second was Peter Casey with 23.1 percent of votes. The other candidates only won 6.4 percent of votes or under.

Voting turnout was the lowest turnout since the foundation of the state, according to The Independent.

Although Higgins had the projected popular vote, other candidates criticised him for ‘overspending’ during his term.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Michael D Higgins (@michaeldhiggins2018) on

Peter Casey was one of his biggest critics and called the president’s lack of transparency around Áras spending disgraceful.

The former Dragon’s Den star received heavy backlash during the campaign for controversial comments he made about the travelling community.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar asked voters not to back him as well.

However, Casey has announced that he plans on running for president again unless he is Taoiseach at the time of the next election.

President Higgins is thrilled to be awarded the title of presidency again and has quite a few plans for implementing policy change aimed towards equality.

He plans on establishing a year-long initiative towards this effect.

The 77-year-old also wishes to further root Irish history into modern culture and the art community with his planned program ‘Imagination and the Nation’.

President Higgins will now continue residing in Áras an Uachtaráin until 2025.

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As posters and billboards from both sides of the campaign continue to take over our cities and towns, the debate around the upcoming abortion referendum is well and truly under way. 

As more and more politicians and high profile figures make their stance on the issue known, an unearthed news piece from 1980s proves that President Michael D. Higgins made up his mind a long time ago. 

Recognising the equal right to life of the mother and the unborn, the Eight Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland came into effect after it was approved by referendum on September 7, 1983. 

The move was backed Fianna Fáil and some member of Fine Gael, though was generally opposed by the political left. 

Michael D, who was serving as the Mayor of Galway at the time, shared his thoughts on the amendment saying how it expressed "no concern for the thousands of women who begin a lonely journey on the boat to England." 

"Mr Higgins said that the opening speeches in last week's Dáil debate 'were monumental in their hypocrisy," and reminded him "of what Davitt said 100 years ago, that if the Irish had a weakness worse than drink, it was moral cowardice," the article reads. 

"'It expresses no concern for the thousands of women who begin a lonely journey on the boat to England. It's a callous referendum. The people behind it are mounting campaigns that are sinister and undemocratic and only half above the surface,' he said." 

The excerpt was posted by Twitter use Maurice Casey, who said he nothing but respect for the now President. 

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In a world dominated by the antics of one president in particular, it's a relief to remember that our Emerald Isle is represented by the kindest of souls.

We had a little chuckle to ourselves when a very sweet tweet popped up on our feeds this morning. 

98FM Dublin Talks producer Katie Makk very generously extended an invitation to our El Presidente to her wedding, and tweeted his amazing response. 

'So for the craic I sent an invite to my wedding to @PresidentIRL – today I received this in the post good auld Michael D,' tweeted Katie. 

His response was as follows:

'Dear Katie and Alan,

'President Higgins has asked me to thank you most sincerely for your kind invitation to attend at the celebration of your wedding.'

'Your thoughtfulness in extending the invitation is very much appreciated but the President regrets that, due to the extent of his commitments, it is not possible for him to accept.'

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'The President would like to wish you both every happiness for the future.'

What an absolute gentleman. 

How blessed are we to have Michael D?

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The Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has touched down in Dublin.

Justin is starting his official visit to Ireland today, after flying into Dublin Airport last night.

The PM will meet our Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, and President, Michael D. Higgins later today.

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98fm report that they will all gather in Farmleigh in the Phoenix Park, where "issues of mutual interest" will be discussed.

He will then take a trip to Áras an Uachtaráin, where Mickey D will hold a special reception for him.

Throughout the day he will make many other visits, including one to the EPIC Ireland Emigration Museum in the Docklands.

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Tonight, Justin will be Guest of Honour at an official dinner in Dublin Castle, before leaving early tomorrow morning.

Leo Varadkar previously said that Mr Trudeau has been a political role model for many years, and we're sure he's only delighted to meet him today.

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On Sunday, our president Michael D. Higgins met Bernie Saudners in the Áras, and it's safe to say our bromance dreams came true.

Of course, we all went wild with the pictures, but it wasn't until last night that America caught on to it.

Bernie tweeted a picture with Mickey D, while also letting his supporters know that both of them have very similar views on a number of important issues.

However, Twitter concentrated more on the resemblance of the pair, going so far as to say they're twins:

And many Americans LOVED that our president's Twitter handle is @PresidentIRL:

We can see the buds of a beautiful friendship.

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The former Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness, has died this morning. 

The former Minister passed away aged 66 after a short illness.

President Michael D Higgins has paid tribute to Mr McGuinness for his contribution to the peace process in Northern Ireland.

"As President of Ireland, I wish to pay tribute to his immense contribution to the advancement of peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland – a contribution which has rightly been recognised across all shades of opinion," said the President in a statement. 

"As a political colleague of many years, and having participated together in the Presidential election campaign of 2011 that brought us all over Ireland, Sabina and I have appreciated both Martin McGuinness’ warmth and his unfailing courtesy."

"In addition to his services in public life, as an inclusive believer in community in all its forms he will also be remembered for his warm support for Derry GAA and Derry FC." 

"His death leaves a gap that will be difficult to fill. May he rest in peace.”

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD also paid his respects to Mr McGuinness this morning: 

“Throughout his life Martin showed great determination, dignity and humility and it was no different during his short illness."

“He was a passionate republican who worked tirelessly for peace and reconciliation and for the re-unification of his country."

"But above all he loved his family and the people of Derry and he was immensely proud of both."

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When it comes to special sporting moments, Ireland has had quite a few in 2016.

However, according to research from One4all, the Ireland rugby team’s defeat of the almighty All Blacks for the first time in 111 years was the nation’s happiest sporting moment of the year – so say four out of ten people polled.

Meanwhile, the O’Donovan brothers revealing their ‘steak, spuds and pull like a dog’ strategy to RTÉ Sport was chosen as the second happiest sporting occasion of 2016 (13 percent). And the memorable moment Robbie Brady scored against Italy in Euros 2016 came a close third with 12 percent.

The survey, which was carried out among 1,352 adults in Ireland, furthermore revealled that the week-long Irish heatwave in July was the happiest non-sporting moment in Ireland this year (39 percent), followed by the 1916 centenary celebrations at the GPO – close-to a third of people felt that was the year's high point. 

It seems President Michael D has put a smile on quite a few people’s faces in 2016 with 14 percent of Irish adults saying the photo of him queueing to use an ATM was one of their happiest non-sporting moments of the year.

One4all also revealed that eight in ten adults say that they feel happier at Christmas time than any other time of the year – with Christmas Eve being more exciting for most than the big day itself. 

The brand said in response to the findings: “It’s great to know that for most people, 2016 has been a happy year. From special sporting moments and monumental events to spending time with your family and friends, it’s clear that happiness comes in all shapes and sizes.  “

“This Christmas you can make your gift personal by giving a One4all gift card and let your loved one choose something that will make them smile, bringing them some extra happiness to top off 2016!”

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If only for the resulting tweets, there is no denying that if you're staying in on a Friday night, The Late Late Show will probably feature at some point.

You opt to "shtick it on for a bit…" and before you know it you're furiously getting your housemates to enter the win-€20K competition, duly clutching your phone in blind hope.

And this week the guest-list isn't looking too shabby either – namely because Ireland's very own better-than-Obama president, Michael Dee, will feature.

"President Higgins will join Ryan to chat about life as the State's first citizen, his plans for the future, and, as the 1916 centenary year winds down, he will share his vision for a new Ireland," a statement from RTE reads.

Meanwhile, writer Stefanie Preissner will tell viewers what inspired her hit new TV drama Can't Cope, Won't Cope and what it feels like to be labelled the "voice of a generation". 

Ireland's Paralympics heroes Ellen Keane and Niamh McCarthy will also in studio, talking about their Rio success. 

Then the very-funny Jessica Thom will discuss taking the challenge of her Tourette Syndrome and using it as part of her comedy.

PLUS there will be music from The Blizzards.

Now all we need is that €20,000 prize… 

 

The Late Late Show airs tomorrow on RTÉ One at 9.35pm

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The Queen has now landed in Northern Ireland for a two-day tour of the region, and on her itinernary was a 20-minute long audience with Republican politician Martin McGuinness.

With the cameras posed for the historical event, Sky News footage shows the Queen arriving for her meeting yesterday at Hillsborough Castle.

Mr McGuinness greets the Queen with a handshake asking: “Good evening. Hello. Are you well?”

The 90-year-old monarch replies with a lightning-quick "thank you very much. Well, I'm still alive, anyway.”

Elizabeth then goes on to poke fun at the fact that she gets two birthdays every year – her official birthday, which took place earlier this month, and her actual birthday, which is in April.

She explains: "We've been quite busy. There's been quite a lot going on," adding: "I've had two birthdays, so we've been quite busy."

Four years ago, former paramilitary Martin McGuinness and the Queen shook hands – an occasion later hailed as a significant moment in the peace process.

He again met her in 2014, when she hosted a state event for President Michael D Higgins at Windsor Castle.

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One Defence Forces officer is going to get a serious talking to later on, we reckon.

RTÉ cameras have been following the progress of the Easter Sunday 1916 Parade, which is taking a 4km route through the streets of Dublin and past some of the key sites of the 1916 Rising.

But one lad stopped to take a phone call at just the wrong moment, with the cameras capturing him chatting away as President Michael D. Higgins walked past.

Oops.

Bet that's the last time he brings his phone to work…

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With his wife, Nicola, his three young children, Lucy, Alex and Andrew, and a host of dignitaries – including Michael D Higgins and Enda Kenny – in attendance, the funeral of Garda Tony Golden has now taken place. 

The service was held at the small St Oliver Plunkett's church in the parish of Blackrock, Co Louth at 12noon.

©RTE News

 

Prior to the service the funeral cortège, led by Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan, had made its way through the locale 

Businesses in the area have shut for the day as a mark of respect, with most residents instead lining the town's streets.

Most impactful of all, however, was the sight of 35-year-old Garda Tony's coffin being escorted by thousands of his serving colleagues, many of them in uniform.

The church itself can only accommodate some 300 people, so most stood in the grounds, where big screens broadcasting the funeral have been erected.

Nicola, wife of the late Tony  ©RTE News

 

Tony was killed on Sunday when he responded to a local 999 call.

He was shot and shortly afterwards died alongside the 24-year-old shooter, Adrian Crevan Mackin, who turned the gun on himself after fatally striking Garda Golden. 

The killer's partner and the mother of his two children, Siobhán Phillips, 22, remains in a critical condition in a Dublin hospital after also being shot in the head by Crevan Mackin.  

©RTE News

 

This afternoon, the dead garda was remembered as a role model for the community; his brother, Patrick, also described him as a "big gentle giant".

And in his homily, chief celebrant Fr Pádraig Keenan told the congregation that the killing of Garda Golden was "cold blooded murder". He reminded the mourners that Co Mayo-native was the 88th garda to die in the line of duty. 

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He continued: "It is 88 members too many. He like all the others is mourned by the entire nation.

Fr Keenan went on to say that too many hearts have been broken, and too many lives shattered. There is no place for violence in our society, violence is wrong, always wrong, he stated.

Symbols brought to altar by heartbroken family members include photographs; a club jersey and hurley from the Stephanites GAA club in his native Ballina, Co Mayo; as well as a TV remote control, a soft drink, a bar of chocolate and packet of crisps to recall his cherished "time out".

Garda Golden will now be laid to rest at St Paul's Cemetery Heynestown.

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This evening at his official residence in the Phoenix Park, President Michael D Higgins signed off the Thirty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution (Marriage Equality) Bill 2015.

This means that the result of May's historic referendum has now been enshrined in law.

A number of legal challenges brought against the result meant tonight's signing was delayed somewhat, but all the disputes were struck down at earlier High Court hearings.

The Irish people had voted by a margin of 62-38 percent and marriage in this country may now take place between two persons "without distinction as to their sex".

The Bill will also be introduced to the Dáil next month.

Although it was originally hoped that the first marriages between same-sex partners could take place as early as next month or October, it seems more likely now that those ceremonies will be held towards the end of this year.

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