Sean Gallagher concedes Irish presidency

Independent candidate for the Irish presidency and one-time opinion poll-topper Sean Gallagher has conceded defeat to the Labour Party's Michael D Higgins.

Businessman Mr Gallagher, a former member and fund-raiser for the Fianna Fail party, has accepted the veteran politician will be the country's ninth head of state.

Mr Gallagher rang his rival to congratulate him.





"In the last hour I've called Michael D Higgins to congratulate him on his performance and his success in this election," Mr Gallagher said.



"He will have my full support as president and I sincerely thank him for a positive campaign.



"His slogan stated that he would be a president to be proud of and I believe he will be that president."



Mr Higgins looks set to take about 40% of the vote on the first count, to be confirmed at Dublin Castle around 7pm or 8pm.





Mr Gallagher appears on course to finish second but has seen his support collapse from a high of 40% in last weekend's opinion polls to closer to 30% in the vote proper.



Eamon Gilmore, Tanaiste (deputy prime minister) and Labour Party leader, said it had been an honour to nominate 70-year-old Mr Higgins, a former minister, for the job.



"This is a good day for the Labour Party. Our nominee Michael D Higgins looks pretty certain that he will be elected the ninth president of Ireland," Mr Gilmore said.



"I'm really happy for him. I'm really delighted that he succeeded."



The final confirmation of the poll at Dublin Castle is not expected until late tonight or in the early hours or tomorrow if there are any issues at count centres around the country.







Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness looked set to take third place in the vote and secured a huge boost for his party by topping the poll in the Donegal North-East constituency.



Gerry Adams, his party's president, said the support would bring politics in Northern Ireland and the Republic closer.



"I think what we have done is narrow the gap between politics in the north and the south," Mr Adams said.



Gay Mitchell, candidate for Government party Fine Gael in coalition with Labour, failed to register amid suggestions that the grassroots were not behind him.



His poor showing left him vying with Senator David Norris, a former Trinity professor and Joycean scholar, for the fourth and fifth spots with a record seven candidates in the race.



The also-rans are Mary Davis, who headed the Irish division of Special Olympics, and Dana Rosemary Scallon, former Eurovision winner and Eurosceptic MEP.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
footballHe started just four months ago
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect