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'I’m out'- Noel Whelan will not contest the presidential election.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio One this morning Whelan announced that he was out of the race.

File photo: Noel Whelan is the third rumoured presidential candidate to rule himself out of the race in the last 24 hours.
File photo: Noel Whelan is the third rumoured presidential candidate to rule himself out of the race in the last 24 hours.
Image: Leah Farrell via Rollingnews

NOEL WHELAN HAS ruled himself out as a candidate in the upcoming presidential election, the third potential candidate to do so in the last 24 hours.

Barrister and Irish Times columnist Noel Whelan, Independent Senator Gerard Craughwell and GAA president Liam O’Neill all announced that they would not contest for the nation’s highest office for various reasons.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio One this morning Whelan told Miriam O’Callaghan that he was out of the race because he did not want to contest the incumbent.

I’m out. I made a decision at the end of February that if the sitting President wasn’t contesting then I would put a campaign together.

Whelan said that while he did not want to run against Higgins he felt that over the past few weeks it had been important for him to reconsider that decision.

“I was surprised at the extent of the reaction to the people saying that they wanted to have an election and secondly the fact that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael didn’t have a candidate.

“That had opened in my case, a pathway of getting a nomination on to the ballot paper.

If Michael D Higgins wasn’t running then we wouldn’t have waited until now, we would have put a campaign in place beginning last April.

In 1997 Whelan was an election candidate for Fianna Fáil but failed to win a seat in Dublin South East.

Ruled out 

Independent Senator Gerard Craughwell was the first contender to throw his name into the ring last August.

However, he bowed out yesterday, saying he could not afford to finance a campaign.

In a statement, Craughwell said putting himself forward “opened up what has been the first serious national conversation on the presidential nomination and election process”.

Another rumoured candidate was former GAA president Liam O’Neill but he ruled himself out on last night’s The Tonight Show on TV3, giving similar reasons to Matt Cooper and Ivan Yates.

“I don’t have the logistical group that it takes to undertake a campaign like that… My position was that I’d never said I’d stand but that I’d consider it, and I’m not standing,” he said.

So, who is expected to contest the election? And how are they likely to fare?

Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour are all backing Higgins’ bid. Sinn Féin, meanwhile, plans to run its own candidate.

We’ve ranked the potential (and confirmed) contenders, from most to least likely.

About the author:

Adam Daly

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