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Michael D Higgins chosen as Labour Party presidential candidate

He beat Fergus Finlay and Kathleen O’Meara to the nomination.

Michael D Higgins smiles after winning the contest.
Michael D Higgins smiles after winning the contest.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

MICHAEL D HIGGINS has been chosen as the Labour Party’s candidate for the presidency after a vote by delegates at a conference in Dublin this afternoon.

The former government minister beat Fergus Finlay and Kathleen O’Meara to the nomination polling 37 votes compared to 18 for the chief executive of Barnardos Finlay and seven for senator O’Meara.

Fifty-two TDs, senators and MEPs and 14 members of the Labour executive made up the electorate for the selection.

Earlier, party leader and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore told the conference that the election would not be a partisan campaign between political parties and added that from the moment the candidate is chosen the party would treat them as if they were already the president, RTÉ reports.

That ‘president’ is Higgins, an author and poet who is actually the president of the Labour Party. He was a member of Dáil Éireann for 25 years and spent nine years in the Seanad.

He served as Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaetacht from 1993 to 1997.

When he announced his intention to run for the presidency in May, Higgins emphasised his political experience as well as his commitment to Irish culture and human rights campaigns.

He said at that the country urgently needs to “work together to create the foundations of a real Republic, based on the needs, aspirations, imagination and genius of all our people in their different ways”.

In a recent poll conducted by TheJournal.ie on who should be the next president, Higgins placed second to independent senator David Norris.

Read all of TheJournal.ie’s presidential election coverage >

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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