Micheal D. Higgins is inaugurated as the ninth President of Ireland
After a colourful ceremony at Dublin Castle Ireland's new President goes home to Aras an Uachtarain in the Phoenix Park
Amid a colorful and varied ceremony Michael D Higgins has been inaugurated as the ninth President of Ireland.
Having arrived at Dublin Castle, from Farmleigh House in Phoenix Park, with his wife Sabrina, the President entered the historic St Patrick’s Hall and took to the platform. The veteran Labour Party member, poet and campaigner was surrounded by the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny, Government Ministers and the Council of State, including former Presidents Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese.
Following an inter-faith service and a humanist reflection, Higgins made the Declaration of Office in Irish - promising to maintain the Constitution and uphold its laws. He then received his Seal of Office from the Chief Justice Mrs Justice Susan Denham.
During the ceremony Enda Kenny said Higgins is a “noble man of quiet virtue” and said he believes he would be a President for all the Irish people.
Higgins then gave his first address as President of Ireland. He said the people of have the capacity to transcend the present difficulties. He said they have been left wounded and he wanted to move on to a new chapter based on a new sense of Irishness.
During the inauguration a ceremonial fly past including four Pilatus PC-9m aircraft and a 21 gun salute using 105mm light guns took place.
Present at the inauguration were several noteable names including Tanaiste (Vice Prime Minster) Eamon Gilmore, the Attorney General, Minister Pat Rabbitte and Minister Sean Sherlock. Some other high-profile guests attending the ceremony include the British ambassador, US ambassador, German ambassador, French ambassador, Greek ambassador, Chinese ambassador and Chilean ambassador.
During the religious element of the inauguration nine religious concelebrant were present including Rev Dr Diarmuid Martin, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin; Rev Dr Ian Henderson, President, Methodist Church in Ireland; Rabbi Zalman Lent, Jewish Community Representative; Felicity McCartney, Religious Society of Friends; Susie Kennedy, Humanist; Rev Dr Michael A Jackson, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin; Rev Dr Trevor W.J Morrow, Presbyterian Church in Ireland representative; Dr Nooh Al-Kaddo, Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland; and Rev Fr Athanasius George, Coptic Orthodox Church in Ireland representative.
After walking through a Guard of Honour of 200 school children the 70-year old poet and politician born to poverty in Clare, but a lifelong Galway resident has been escorted to his new home at the palatial Aras an Uachtarain in the Phoenix Park in Dublin. He will stay here until this evening when he will travel back to Dublin Castle for an official reception.
The former lecturer at University College Galway won the election with a come from behind victory that was only secured when his opponent Sean Gallagher saw his vote collapse over the final few days after a disastrous debate performance.
The new president is a former Chairman of the Labor Party and a former Minister for Arts and Culture who also lectured and studied at Indiana University.
Here's a retrospective of Michael D Higgin's career so far put together by RTE:
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