David Ford said: “I want to congratulate Michael D Higgins on his election and I want to wish him every success as President of Ireland. I look forward to close co-operation with him and I believe it is very important that strong North-South links exist.
“Michael D Higgins fought a strong, positive election campaign. I am sure he will continue that positive message in the the Presidency, building on the work of Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese.
“I also wish to take this opportunity to praise Mary McAleese on the excellent work she has done in her time as President and wish her well for the future. Mary McAleese has help build and maintain excellent North-South relations and I want to commend her on everything that she has achieved in this role.”