Michael D. Higgins has vowed to move Ireland away from the nightmare of the Celtic Tiger era and back to emotional and economical prosperity after his election as President.
The new resident at Aras an Uachtarain is Ireland’s man in a million after he was confirmed as winner of the Presidential election late on Saturday.
Higgins made a moving speech after transfers sent him over the million vote mark and well clear of Sean Gallagher and Martin McGuinness.
In a scathing attack on those who pushed Ireland to the brink during the Celtic Tiger boom, Higgins urged the people to move "beyond recrimination."
He also urged those who put him into power to "reject the years of materialism and selfishness that drove the country to ruin."
Watched by his wife Sabrina and his children Alice Mary, Michael Jr, John and Daniel. and close to tears, Higgins pleaded with Ireland to move forward on the night the clocks went back.
“We leave behind a narrow individualism that valued the person for what was assumed to be their accumulated wealth but neglected the connection between the person, the social, the community and the nation,” said the 70-year-old Higgins.
“That is what we leave behind now, for which a million people have given me a mandate.
“During a long campaign which for me was almost 14 months since I first sought a nomination from the Labor Party, I said I saw and felt and feel the pain of the Irish people.
“I recognise the need for a reflection on those values and assumptions often carelessly taken that had brought us to such a sorry pass in social and economic terms for which such as high price has been paid and is being paid.
“I recognise the righteous anger but I also saw the need for healing and to move past recrimination.”
Set to return home to Galway in triumph on Sunday afternoon, Higgins will take up residence at Aras an Uachtarain on November 11th.
As President, he plans to visit Britain in 2013 after the success of the Queen’s trip to Ireland earlier this year. Higgins will also oversee the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising.
The new President will, he says, serve just one seven year term in office as he looks to build on the experience of a long but successful election campaign.
The new President added: “I have encountered on this long road an enthusiasm for an Irishness which will be built on recognising again those sources but from which spring the best of our reason and curiosity.
“But even more importantly I encountered the powerful instinct for decency that must be at the heart of a real republic - the celebration of the power of the collective in pursuit of the best of ourselves.
“And based too on the power of culture, science and technology deliver through the contemporary genius of our people.
“Ireland has made its choice of the future and it has chosen the version of Irishness it will build and I will work with head and heart to be part with all of you in creating that future, one in which all of us can be part of and proud too.”
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