Tánaiste backs Higgins for a second term in the Áras
Published 31/12/2015 | 02:30
President Michael D Higgins will have the backing of Labour Party leader Joan Burton if he decides to seek a second term in office.
Before the election in 2011, Mr Higgins made it clear that he wanted to be a one-term President but speculation has mounted in recent months that he may have had a change of heart.
And now the Tánaiste has said she would back her former colleague if he wanted another seven years in Áras an Uachtaráin.
"I think Michael D has done a really good job. I think he has a very high level of appeal for people right across Ireland, particularly children actually," Ms Burton said.
"If Michael D wishes to serve a second term - but it is very early days yet, he has several years of his term to run - but whatever decision he makes on this, I will certainly be happy to back him."
Mr Higgins was nominated by the Labour Party to run for President after the party's TDs, senators, MEP and 14 executive members were ask to chose between him, Fergus Finlay of Barnardos and Senator Kathleen O'Meara.
He was elected to office in November 2011 and has just less than three years of his term still to serve.
During the campaign, Mr Higgins (pictured) said that he would not want a second term. But when asked during a visit to the US last October whether this was still the case, the 74-year-old replied: "Neither a yes nor a no." He described the query as "premature".
"In the fullness of time, when it's appropriate, I'll address that issue," he said.
His spokesperson had nothing further to add to those comments when contacted by the Irish Independent last night.
Former Labour leader Eamon Gilmore has also encouraged Mr Higgins to seek re-election in 2018.
"I think Michael D is doing a great job and I think he should stand again," he has said.