Michael D Higgins will confirm if he plans to run for second term in September... of 2018
President Michael D Higgins has revealed that he will confirm if he plans to run for a second term "after the summer next year".
Speculation is mounting that Mr Higgins wants a second term after he repeatedly refused to rule out the possibility.
During the 2011 election campaign, the former arts minister said he would only serve for seven years - but he already has the backing from senior political figures, including Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, to stay in office until 2025.
There is a growing consensus in political circles that the 76-year-old would like to stay on but is not keen on a potentially gruelling election campaign.
Speaking from the Ploughing Championship on RTE Radio One this morning the President said people would have a better idea about his intentions to run "by the time of next year's" event.
"My concentration, as it is now, is on doing this term very well and that's why I don't answer the question now."
He continued: "In the fullness of time, it is just my decision, it doesn't affect anyone else. I haven't ruled anything out and therefore by the time of the ploughing next year the numbers will be up again."
Pressed on when he will make a decision the President said: "In October I am going to Australia and New Zealand, I have a very full programme. I have a number of European Union visits in the Spring."