President Higgins should run for second term, says Gilmore
President Michael D Higgins should stand for a second term of office, former Labour leader Eamon Gilmore has said.
President Higgins, whose current seven-year term ends in just over three years, said before and during the 2011 campaign that he was only seeking a single term. But Mr Gilmore, who has announced that he is quitting Dáil politics, said the President should change his mind.
"I think Micheal D is doing a great job and I think he should stand again. It's as simple as that," Mr Gilmore told the Irish Independent.
The former Labour leader, who is aged 60, has ruled out any ambitions to be Uachtarán na hÉireann after he leaves Leinster House for the final time when the next general election is called. But Mr Gilmore was a prime mover behind his veteran party colleague's nomination and election in October 2011 and it was a real high-point for the Labour Party at that stage.
A spokeswoman for President Higgins declined to comment on whether he would change his mind and in fact seek a second term. President Higgins would be 77 years old in 2018, when the next presidential election is scheduled, and he had to face down claims that he was already too old back in 2011.
Mr Gilmore said he had no plans for the period after he leaves Dáil Éireann.
"I've been in elected politics for 30 years, starting with the local council in Dún Laoghaire in 1985.
"I want to continue to contribute to public life and the Labour Party," he said.
The former Labour leader said he felt that public service and elected politics were a great privilege and he had no regrets after a long career which saw him serve as TD in Dún Laoghaire for 26 years.