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Dublin: 6°C Thursday 27 January 2022

Michael D's campaign manager: "It’s been a fabulous night"

Dublin Central TD Joe Costello says the presidency is “the prize that every party would love to have”, but that the win will cement the coalition.

Labour's director of elections Joe Costello, pictured with Michael D Higgins on the campaign trail.
Labour's director of elections Joe Costello, pictured with Michael D Higgins on the campaign trail.
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

MICHAEL D HIGGINS’ director of elections has hailed “a wonderful result” as his candidate prepared to be formally declared the ninth President of Ireland.

Dublin Central TD Joe Costello this morning said the election results had provided Labour with “a wonderful result”.

“It was not to be expected that any party – particularly the junior party in government – would win two elections on the one day,” he said, referring also to Patrick Nulty’s overnight victory in the Dublin West by-election. “The presidency is the prize that every party would love to have – it’s wonderful.

“But it’s not just a prize, obviously, it’s a question that a candidate, Michael D Higgins, is way and beyond a political party member. He is somebody who has so much to offer in so many other areas, of course.

“That’s what stood by him in the campaign: he had the experience of 40 years in politics in public life, but he also had so much experience of so much else that he’s done, which is outside the normal remit of a public representative.”

Costello said Higgins’ presidency was likely to be “probably one of the most important in the history of the state”, pointing out that the next seven years would include centennial anniversaries of not just the 1916 Rising, but also the 1913 lockouts, the outbreak of World War One, and up to the meeting of the First Dáil.

While he felt there was no single point where the election had been won or lost, Costello said the ultimate outcome of the election had been decided by voters who had decided who they felt was a first person to lead the country.

Were they going to vote for someone who had a transparent lifestyle, or who has achieved so much, with whom they had contact, who was very charismatic? Or were they going to vote for someone whom they had question marks about? And they voted for Michael D.

Asked if Labour’s double victory would change its dynamic with Fine Gael in the government coalition, Costello said he believed the victories would copperfasten the coalition, as the government was strengthened by one of its parties winning both ballots.

“More than anything else it will cement the relationship between the partners… there are tough days to come, there are tough budgets to come, and we have to make tough and hard decisions. This will ensure that the bond is there to do it. And I think Fine Gael will feel the same.

“They will be disappointed with their results in both counts but nevertheless there is now a firm commitment to stick together, to see this through, so that we can come out at the end of it.

“What better time to regain our economic sovereignty during the period that we will be celebrating the centenary of our political sovereignty, the establishment of it?,” Costello said.

Catch up on all the goings on the count yesterday with TheJournal.ie’s liveblog: part one and part two>

Check out the liveblog for day two>

D-Day for the dragon slayer: Michael D takes over the front pages>

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Gavan Reilly

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