Michael D-Day: Higgins storms to victory after biggest late-vote switch in history
Gallagher's huge lead evaporates, Labour double boost, FG disaster
THE most dramatic turnaround in a presidential election catapulted Labour's Michael D Higgins to an overwhelming victory that makes him the country's ninth president.
Independent candidate Sean Gallagher suffered a spectacular collapse in support in the wake of revelations over his role in a €5,000-a-head Fianna Fail fundraiser.
Labour was preparing to celebrate a double victory as the party was also set to win the Dublin West by-election.
But Fine Gael was licking its wounds after disastrous results in both elections. The results were described as a wake-up call for the party.
Sinn Fein was celebrating a third-place finish for Martin McGuinness and Fianna Fail was delighted with its runner-up spot in the by-election. The Government is also facing the embarrassing prospect of losing the referendum on extending Oireachtas powers.
Initial tallies suggest the vote will be defeated, amid enormous voter confusion.