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Michael D Higgins launches bid for Labour Party's presidential nomination

Author, poet and former minister Higgins describes fellow Labour nomination candidate Fergus Finlay as “formidable and able” – but says he’d be a better choice.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

FORMER MINISTER Michael D Higgins has officially launched his presidential campaign and, as expected, is seeking the Labour Party nomination for the election.

Higgins, currently the party’s president, will travel to Galway, Kerry, Cork and Dublin this week to hold public meetings and discuss his proposals for the presidency.

In a statement issued today, Higgins emphasised his political experience, his commitment to Irish culture and his involvement in human rights campaigns as reasons to support his candidacy.

If elected, Higgins said he would act as patron to a series of Presidency Seminars to facilitate a wider discussion on issues such as the restoration of ethics and re-building trust in political and economic structures.

He said that intergenerational solidarity should be strengthened, the Irish diaspora should be invited to reconnect with Ireland, and 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”:

I believe that the pernicious and self-interested individualism without restraint, inspired and promoted by Thatcherism, Reaganism, and by recent Irish Governments has led to a de-peopled system and has undermined the solidarity which is essential for our society. There is a need in Ireland for a radical inclusive society that regards citizenship as built on equality, as valuing solidarity and rooted in caring.

The former TD for Galway said he recognised the other declared Labour Party candidate Fergus Finlay as “a formidable and able candidate”, but insisted the party would be best served by choosing Higgins as its nominee.

Today it emerged that Dragon’s Den judge and businessman Sean Gallagher is preparing to announce his intention to run as an independent candidate for the presidency.

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