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Irish political leaders congratulate Donald Trump on presidential election victory

President-elect Donald Trump waves as he walks with his wife Melania Trump followed by his daughter Ivanka Trump after giving his acceptance speech during his election night rally in New York 

IRISH political leaders have congratulated Donald Trump on his victory in the United States presidential election.

He claimed a shock victory over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the US.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the Dublin government "looks forward to working closely with our new colleagues in the White House".

"Ireland and the United States have enjoyed a very close and warm relationship for many generations and I am confident that under his leadership our bilateral relations will continue to prosper," he said.

"Also, we think today of Hillary Clinton, a friend to Ireland who fought such a tough campaign.

"We are all acutely conscious of the particular responsibility of the United States for leadership and engagement across the globe in our endeavours to address shared challenges. I look forward to working with the new administration in the time ahead in the cause of international peace and security.

"I also intend to work closely with the new administration and newly elected United States Congress to pursue comprehensive immigration reform, an issue that is so important to tens of thousands of Irish people who are making a major contribution to America."

He also congratulated Mike Pence, on his election as vice-president who he said is "a proud Irish American who spent many summers in Ireland as a child".

"The government looks forward to working closely with our new colleagues in the White House," he added.

President Michael D Higgins also spoke of a "long and deep connection" between Ireland and the United States and its people.

"I have conveyed my best wishes to President elect Donald Trump, wishing him and the American people every good fortune for his term in office."

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said there was "no doubt" that some of Trump's policy positions "are a cause for concern for our interests".

"In his victory speech, Mr Trump said that he would move now to heal the wounds of the campaign and would govern for all. This is welcome.

"There will be much reflection on the dynamics of this campaign and the factors involved.

"There is no doubt that some of the policy positions articulated by Mr Trump during his campaign are a cause for concern for our interests, for example the renegotiation of trade agreements, his pursuit of US companies headquartered overseas and the position of undocumented Irish.

"It is important that as a country we move quickly to prepare our case to defend our interests. I sincerely hope that the long standing and excellent relationship between Ireland and the USA will continue."

Stormont First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness also expressed hope that the north's long-standing relationship with the US would be strengthened during Mr Trump's time at the White House.

"I congratulate Donald Trump on his historic election as the 45th President of the United States of America," said DUP leader Mrs Foster.

"We are a small region but we are fortunate to have strong historical, economic and political ties to the United States.

"Northern Ireland has developed a mutually beneficial relationship with the United States and I look forward to working with Donald Trump's administration to continue this.

"As our largest inward investor the United States plays a massive role in our economic progress."

Sinn Fein's Mr McGuinness said: "I congratulate Donald Trump on his election victory. I will work constructively with President Trump to maintain and strengthen our well established and deeply valued relationship with the United States.

"Over many years successive US administrations have made a major contribution to both our peace process and economic development and I expect this to continue.

"I commiserate with Hillary Clinton who showed unwavering commitment to the north of Ireland as Secretary of State and First Lady."

Alliance leader Naomi Long said Mr Trump needs to unite his country after he triumphed in a divisive election campaign.

"The first thing Mr Trump needs to do is attempt to heal the wounds of a bitterly divisive election campaign," she said.

"It has not only split America almost down the middle but his own party has been fragmented. A president has to be a unifier and I hope he realises this.

"It is worth noting Hillary Clinton looks set to win the popular vote and my commiserations go to her.

"It is no secret I supported her bid for the White House and it is disappointing she did not win, but the American people have made their decision via the electoral college and we must respect it."

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