MICHAEL D Higgins has welcomed his re-election as president of Ireland as a vote for “hope over fear”.

He secured his second term in office with a landslide margin of more than 55% of the vote.

All 40 constituencies around Ireland were declared shortly after 7.30pm last night, with nearly 1.5 million people casting their vote.

Higgins, a 77-year-old poet and professor, said: “The people have made a choice as to which version of Irishness they want reflected at home and abroad.

“It is the making of hope they wish to share rather than the experience of any exploitation of division or fear.

Businessman Peter Casey, initially an outside contender whose last-minute surge in the polls following critical comments about the Travelling community saw him propelled into second place, got 23% of the vote.