Tuesday 21 November 2017

Candidates that made list for possible Aras run


Olivia O'Leary, the well known journalist and broadcaster, has been mentioned on numerous occasions as a presidential candidate.

She was widely praised for delivering a keynote speech at the gala event at the Dublin Convention Centre during Queen Elizabeth's recent visit to Ireland.

However, she ruled herself out to Independent TDs in recent days after giving it some consideration.


Gay Byrne's name is already in the ring, with Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin pledging support for him. However, getting the support of some Independents would boost his efforts to present himself as a non-party candidate.

He is expected to announce his final decision on the presidency next week.

John Lonergan

John Lonergan was governor of Mountjoy Prison for 24 years and spent 48 years working in the prison service.

He would be seen as a left-of-centre candidate and is strong on issues such as social justice, drugs and community.

Last night he said nobody had contacted him about the presidency yet. "God, things couldn't be that bad," he said. When asked if he would be interested in running for the Aras, he replied: "Not at all."

Feargal Quinn

Businessman Feargal Quinn (75) is best known as the founder of Superquinn. He has been an Independent senator for the National University of Ireland (NUI) since 1993. As a former chairman of An Post, he also helped set up the National Lottery. Mr Quinn was unavailable for comment last night, but his office said he was categorically "not running for president".

Diarmaid Ferriter

Diarmaid Ferriter is a well-known historian, and is currently Professor of Modern Irish History of UCD.

He previously worked in DCU and is the author of numerous books, including 'The Transformation of Ireland 1900-2000' and 'Judging Dev'.

Mr Ferriter is on holidays and did not return calls last night.

Sharon Ni bheolain

Sharon Ni Bheolain is a newsreader for RTE. She has worked at the national broadcaster since 1994, and is co-anchor on the 'Six-One' news.

The 40-year-old is also a prominent promoter of the Irish language.

Ms Ni Bheolain was surprised to be included in the list, and ruled out running, insisting she is "not presidential material".

Padraig o Ceidigh

Businessman Padraig O Ceidigh is best known for his involvement with Aer Arann, which expanded from a small regional airline to a significant player in the Irish aviation industry.

He is interested in running for the Aras and is currently examining his options. He will make a decision next week.


Joe Lee (69) is another well-known historian and is also a former senator. He is Professor of History, Glucksman Professor for Irish studies and director of Glucksman Ireland House at New York University. The Kerry native has published books such as 'The Modernisation of Irish Society, 1848-1919' and 'Ireland 1912-1985 -- Politics and Society'.

He could not be contacted last night.

Joe o'tOOLE

Joe O'Toole is a former senator and general secretary of the Irish National Teachers' Organisation.

He was an independent senator for the NUI from 1987 until this year.

He did not return calls last night.


Catherine McGuinness (77) is a former Circuit Court, High Court and Supreme Court judge. She is also a former president of the Law Reform Commission, and was a independent senator for Trinity College at different stages between 1979 and 1987. She is also a patron of the Irish Refugee Council.

Efforts to contact her were unsuccessful.

Irish Independent

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