‘It’s a big day for the Irish’: The people of Ireland are celebrating with a big win, writes John Ruddy

The Irish media are celebrating a big victory as a record 4.3 million people tuned in to the first televised national election in nearly 80 years.

Mr Ruddy, the former Irish prime minister, was on hand to watch the result come in.

“It’s going to be a big night for the country,” he said.

“I think the people of Northern Ireland will be celebrating a win, not only in the electoral arena, but in the sense of a bigger voice in the national life.”

Mr Ruddys party has won its first majority since he was first elected in 1974.

He said that the result had been a long time coming and had been driven by a growing desire in Northern Ireland for more of a say in government.

“Northern Ireland is a bit of a paradox, because we have this unique position where we’re the only part of the United Kingdom that has a devolved system of government, and it’s very hard to imagine a devolution system in the rest of the UK,” he told RTÉ’s The World at One.

“There are other parts of the country that have a much bigger say in the devolved institutions, and I think this is a big part of that.”

He said the result showed that the Northern Ireland people were the strongest in the country.

“What I think is very interesting about the result is that we’ve had a strong showing in Northern England and Wales, and this is the strongest result for any constituency in the whole of the South and a bit further north,” he added.

Mr Kerry said that as a result of the vote, he would be making a statement on the UK’s future in Europe and said that he would speak out against the Brexit vote.

“The fact that the UK voted to leave the EU will have a huge impact on Northern Ireland,” he was quoted as saying.

“My message to the people who voted for Brexit is this: You don’t need a vote for the future of this country, you don’t have to vote to make the future look better.”

Mr Kerry was elected in 2006 and has been leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) since 2014.

He has been a staunch supporter of the EU, saying that the “Brexit is not about the EU” and that he wants to see the UK remain a member of the bloc.

The Irish Times has more on the result.