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Sean Kelly supporters ahead of the EU Parliament election in 2014. Eamonn Farrell/
Race for the Áras

Could this be our next president?

Seán Kelly MEP thinks he may have a “great opportunity” to connect with people.

A SENIOR FINE Gael figure has expressed an interest in running for president – but only if Michael D Higgins decides not to seek a second term.

Sean Kelly MEP says his background as a former GAA President offers him a “great opportunity” to connect with people.

President Michael D Higgins said upon his election to the office in 2011 that he would not seek a second term but in recent times he has been more vague on the question, leading many to believe he wants to stay on for another seven years.

Another potential candidate, Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness, said recently she feels a presidential election is looking more likely.

Asked by EuroParlRadio whether he’d run, Kelly said colleagues have been encouraging him to go forward and that it’s something he’s consider if Higgins decides not to serve a second term.

“Well I suppose with my background, firstly in sport, I think I’d have a great opportunity to connect with people. Especially now with the whole area of obesity and an unhealthy society, I think that’s an area I could do an awful lot to connect with people,” he said.

You can look at the what the two Marys and Michael D have done and put your own particular personality on it, because ultimately it’s your personality as much as your ability that would help to connect with people and make the role relevant.

To get on the ballot for the presidency, someone must be nominated by at least 20 members of the Oireachtas or by at least four local authorities.

In the 2011 election that was won by Higgins, there were seven candidates in the field.

Independent Senator Gerard Craughwell has been clear about his interest in the position and said he would be seeking a nomination.

Earlier this month he called on the political parties to state whether they would field candidates.

Read: Presidential hopeful calls on largest parties to say if they will run candidates for Áras >

Read: ‘I’m not playing games – this is about winning the presidency’: Craughwell expecting to secure backing for Áras run >

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