Historic second term for Michael D Higgins
Speaking in reaction to the exit polls on today’s Presidential election, Labour Party Leader Brendan Howlin said:
“While the votes still have to be counted, Michael D Higgins’s clearly apparent victory in the Presidential election based on the exit poll is entirely merited. He has been an exemplary President for seven years, and there is no one better to represent the people of Ireland during the next seven.
“Not only does Michael D represent the best of the Labour and trade union tradition in Irish politics, but he has touched the hearts and minds of people from all walks of life, and all political persuasions.
“Michael D Higgins showed a rare depth of sensibility during the recent centenary commemorations, and he has the authority and authenticity to speak for us all at the sensitive memorials yet to come.
“He also has the right character and wisdom to help ensure good relations with Britain and Northern Ireland during the storm of Brexit. I am personally delighted that my friend and longtime colleague will be been returned as President based on tnoight’s results.”
On the projected positive referendum result to remove blasphemy from the Constitution, Brendan Howlin said:
“Removing blasphemy will be a small but significant step towards ensuring that our Constitution is in tune with the secular, diverse country that Ireland has become in recent years.
“Freedom of speech means the freedom to question ideas, including religious ideas, even if that makes others uncomfortable. Blasphemy is not an offence against a person, but against ideas, which is why it can never sit comfortably alongside free speech.
“It is now important that we strengthen legal protections to protect religions against hate speech. A secular republic is one that equally respects people of all faiths and none.”