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Former senator Kathleen O'Meara confirms Labour presidential bid

The two-term former Senator will join Michael D Higgins and Fergus Finlay in seeking Labour’s presidential nomination.

Kathleen O'Meara is a two-term member of the Seanad and a three-time unsuccessful Dáil candidate.
Kathleen O'Meara is a two-term member of the Seanad and a three-time unsuccessful Dáil candidate.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

THE FORMER SENATOR Kathleen O’Meara has confirmed her intention to seek the Labour Party’s nomination to contest the Presidential election this autumn.

O’Meara, a former journalist with RTÉ and currently of the National Cancer Society, confirmed this morning that she would be seeking the office so that she could preside over the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising, and create a new proclamation of independence.

O’Meara told this morning’s Morning Ireland that while the president is constitutionally bound to seek government approval for any statements they might make, she would not be precluded from having what she termed “conversations” with the public about Ireland’s future.

Having run unsuccessfully for the Dáil for Labour in Tipperary North in 1997, O’Meara was later elected to the Seanad’s agricultural panel, a position she retained in 2002.

O’Meara has also been a county and town councillor for Nenagh, but was again unsuccessful when running for the Dáil in 2002 and 2007. She did not run in the 2011 general election.

Labour is to hold its candidate selection convention on June 19, which will now be a three-way contest.

O’Meara joins a race already including the party president and former minister Michael D Higgins, and Barnardos chief executive Fergus Finlay – who was Labour’s chef de cabinet between 1994 and 1997.

Labour’s representation in the Oireachtas – at 50 members – would actually entitle it to nominate two candidates, but it would be unheard of for a party to nominate more than one candidate.

Fine Gael is also set to decide its nominee next month, with MEPs Mairéad McGuinness and Seán Kelly likely to seek the nod – though former European Parliament president Pat Cox may also seek the party’s backing.

Former Taoiseach John Bruton, who would have been virtually assured of the party’s backing if he had chosen to run, announced on Saturday that he was not pursuing a presidential campaign.

Fianna Fáil is still to decide whether it will nominate a candidate; Sinn Féin has decided it will not nominate a party candidate.

Independent candidates seeking the support of local authorities to run in October’s election include Senator David Norris, who has already received the backing of one council, Special Olympics organiser Mary Davis and Dragons Den investor Seán Gallagher.

Poll: Who would get your vote as next President of Ireland? >

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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