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Saturday 21 October 2017

Labour's Michael Higgins confirms presidency bid

Veteran Labour Party politician Michael D Higgins today confirmed his intention to run for president.

The Galway West TD asked his party to back him as their official candidate for the Aras an Uachtarain elections late next year.

Last week, Barnardos chief executive and former Labour adviser Fergus Finlay said he would be seeking the party's nomination in the race to succeed Mary McAleese.

Mr Higgins, a former Government minister and senator, said if elected to the presidency he would work towards genuine and inclusive citizenship.

"We need to discuss the basis of a new form of trust built on a meaningful form of citizenship appropriate for a republic," he said.

"The connection has been lost between the country's direction, especially with regard to the way in which the economy has been run, and the citizen.

"As a country, we need to re-examine the direction Ireland is going in, and the value of a real, participatory citizenship and how this can be achieved through a deepening of democracy."

Mr Higgins said his campaign would focus on the "disastrous actions of one generation, such as the current Government's reaction to the banking crisis", being shifted on to a younger generation.

Elected to the Dail in 1981, Mr Higgins was a minister for arts, culture, and the Gaeltacht between 1993 and 1997.

He was a senator from 1973 to 1977 and again from 1982 to 1987, since when he has been an elected TD.

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Senator David Norris and Fianna Fail MEP Brian Crowley are among others believed to be considering running for the presidency.

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