Minister Alan Kelly has congratulated Michael D. Higgins on becoming the 9th President of Ireland.
He said ‘My colleague and friend Michael D. Higgins is a man of huge courage, conviction and vision. He has always been a hero of mine and an inpiration to me and that’s why I am so proud of his victory in this Presidential election.
‘Michael D helped and encouraged me to get into electoral politics with the Labour party when I first got elected to the Senate in 2007 and I will never forget him for that. Speaking to him in Dublin Castle on Friday night, I told him that this was the greatest day in the history of the Labour party, a party founded in Tipperary and ready to celebrate its centenary in 2012. He has been a constant in the Labour party for 40 years, as a member, Senator, TD. Minister. Laterally he has been Party President, where he became the very soul of our party’.
‘While he was a Labour party nominee and we in the Labour party are very proud of him, I know he will be a true President for all the people. His acceptance speech showed that on Saturday night and it also demonstrated that he has a vision for the next seven years to help this country to move on from where it is now, feel good about itself again and celebrate the great traits, capabilities and talents that the Irish people have, wherever they reside, both at home and abroad. I know he will have a special relationship with the Irish Diaspora. He will be inspirational’.