Mrs Mary McAleese has been returned to office unopposed for a second seven-year term as President.
Her success was officially declared in Dublin’s Custom House after the only other contender, Ms Dana Rosemary Scallon, did not secure enough support for a nomination before a noon deadline.
The result was announced by the Chief Returning Officer, Mr Maurice Coughlan.
Although no election took place, Coughlan declared McAleese elected in the absence of any other nomination under the strict rules of the 1937 constitution.
Mrs McAleese, who was accompanied by her husband, Martin McAleese, said she was “very proud to have been elected to serve the people of Ireland for the next seven years”.
She said she had “hoped for a contested election and expressed her thanks to all the political parties who had backed her candidacy”.
The President said that when elected seven years ago, she had set out to be a president for “all the people” and to be a “bridge builder”. This was a role she hoped to continue.
She said Ireland had not so long ago been an “under-achieving” country but was now a succesful one. It was wonderful to be able to tell people of an end to emigration and high unemployment and also to see the peace process growing, she said.
However, Mrs McAleese said there were still those who were “stuck in disadvantage”.
An especially important task for her in her presidency will be to encourage those who are building and transforming communities, she said.
In a statement, the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern congratulated Mrs McAleese saying she had “given outstanding and unique service to the Irish people” in her last term in office.”