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Michael D makes first pitch to Irish public for second term as president

Higgins has credited his decision to run to the recent conversations he has had with people across all sections of Irish society.

File Photo Michael D Higgins
File Photo Michael D Higgins
Image: Sam Boal via Rollingnews

MICHAEL D HIGGINS has made his first pitch in a bid for another term as President after announcing his intention to run earlier today.

Speaking this evening at the Museum of Country Life in Co Mayo, Higgins credited his decision to run to the recent conversations he has had with people across all sections of Irish society.

“Many, in recent conversations with me about our country and its future, have expressed an opinion that I should offer myself again as a candidate.

“I am grateful to have had their advice, and indeed to have had the opportunity of reflecting on their suggestions. This has been invaluable to me.

“Article 12.4.4 of Bunreacht na hEireann states that “former or retiring Presidents may become candidates on their own nomination.

When the order for an election is made, it is my intention to offer myself as an independent candidate.

Higgins told the crowd in Castlebar that he believed he had met all the demands, both ceremonial and constitutional during his first term as President to the best of his abilities.

“Since my inauguration in 2011, I have sought to reflect the concerns of the Irish people, as well as celebrating their achievements. I have taken the opportunity too of addressing some of the long-term and deep structural issues within Irish society.

“It is therefore in a full understanding and consideration of all the requirements of the role, that I will be offering myself as a candidate to serve and represent the Irish people.

“I believe there are good foundations for the further development of the Office of President and that the experience I brought to, and have gained within the role, could be of particular value as we enter a period of great challenge and possibility, at home and abroad”.

Higgins added that he has many future initiatives that he will share when he lodges his nomination papers.

Opposition 

Many of the main parties not yet indicated if they’ll run a candidate against the ex-Labour TD.

A candidate needs the support of 20 Oireachtas members or four local authorities to get on the ballot, which would be held in October.

So far, independent senator Gerard Craughwell is the most high-profile likely opponent for Higgins.

The former Presidential candidate, Sean Gallagher, who lost out to Higgins in the 2011 election, has written to all of the councils in Ireland asking that they formally set aside time to discuss nominations for the president of Ireland.

In his letter to the mayor and cathaoirleach of each local authority today, he suggested that they formally schedule a nomination for the presidential election on the agendas of their September council meeting.

Gallagher said he had been contacted by a large number of councillors from local authorities around the country who’d expressed concern about the “very limited time frame” that now exists to allow a prospective candidate receive a nomination.

Gallagher has not said, however, whether he wishes to contest the election himself.

Fianna Fáil has said it would back Higgins for re-election, while Fine Gael is set to confirm its stance tomorrow. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has already indicated he’s likely to back Higgins for a second term.

A decision on whether Sinn Féin will contest the presidential election will be made at the party’s Ard Comhairle on Saturday.

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Adam Daly

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