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Pat Cox announces he wants FG nomination for President

Former European Parliament president Pat Cox has officially announced he is seeking the Fine Gael nomination for President.

Mr Cox, a former Progressive Democrat, independent MEP and Fianna Fail member, made his declaration at a press conference in Dublin’s Mansion House today.

He was introduced by his local Cork TD, Dara Murphy, and accompanied on the podium by Cork Senator, Colm Burke, and his wife Cathy.

Mr Cox said he was confident he would get enough support within the party to be able to put his name forward to the selection convention next month.

However, he admitted it will be a struggle to win the party nomination.

Mr Cox is the third Fine Gael nomination candidate after MEPs Mairead McGuinness and Gay Mitchell.

Mr Murphy said Mr Cox was now “one of our own” in Fine Gael and would make an excellent candidate and a wonderful President.

Mr Cox’s speech was warmly applauded by supporters but apart from former MEP Mary Banotti and Lord Mayor Gerry Breen, who was hosting the event, there were no prominent Fine Gael representatives present.

Mr Cox said he could offer the people “an anchor of stability” in difficult times.

“I believe that the next Presidency should be one of unremitting hard work and intensive public service at home, while vigorously championing Ireland’s cause abroad. If accorded the privilege to serve as Ireland’s next President, I will use all my skills, insights and expertise to do so,” he said.

A number of other candidates are also seeking to contest the upcoming election.

Fergus Finlay and Michael D Higgins are seeking the Labour nomination for the election but Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin look increasingly unlikely to field candidates in the October election.

Independent candidates include Senator David Norris, chief executive of the Special Olympics in Europe Mary Davis, entrepreneur Sean Gallagher and the New York-based publisher and journalist Niall O’Dowd.