Monday 26 June 2017

GAA legend 'hasn't ruled out' running in Aras race

Kevin Keane

MICHEAL O Muircheartaigh will decide on whether he should enter the race to become the next president of Ireland in the coming days.

The GAA stalwart promised to come to a decision about the matter "shortly" after receiving the support of friends and members of the public.

And he told the Irish Independent that politicians from a number of the main parties have made representations to him about running for the Aras.

"I haven't ruled out anything but even at the dogs (greyhound track) last night I almost left with the number of people that were saying it to me," he said yesterday. "I will give it a bit of consideration but it's a major undertaking," the 80-year-old added.

O Muircheartaigh is the latest non-political figure to emerge as a candidate for the presidency. Interest increased over the weekend after an endorsement by fellow broadcaster Gay Byrne. As he announced his own decision not to run for the Aras, Mr Byrne said he would back O Muircheartaigh as a candidate because he is "probably the most popular man in Ireland".

Speaking from Croke Park, where he watched Tipperary beat Dublin in the All-Ireland hurling semi-final with his daughter Doireann yesterday, Mr O Muircheartaigh said he will consider his options this week as he holidays with his family in Dingle, Co Kerry.

"I won't spend too much time, usually when I give something a thought I make a decision (but) I have never been involved in a thing like this and it was never my intention," he said.

Cautious

O Muircheartaigh added that he would make his own decision and wouldn't be holding widespread consultations.

But he also said the public view on whether he should run "could be a swaying factor". "I've been among the people always, and I know a lot of people everywhere, and quite a few of them have been (encouraging)."

The retired radio and television commentator said a number of representatives of the main political parties have been in touch with him recently about entering the presidential race. But he indicated that if he did decide to run, he would be cautious about doing so with party-political backing.

"I was never associated with politics and I stayed clear of politics. I've been broadcasting for over 62 years on the basis that all shades of political opinion are involved in all sports."

Meanwhile, the current favourite for the Aras, Michael D Higgins, wished Mr Byrne well "in everything he does in the future" and added he had no doubt other well-known figures would now enter the race.

Irish Independent

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