Monday 21 January 2019

Another presidential hopeful pressures Higgins

Pádraig Ó Céidigh has told of his frustrations at the delays
Pádraig Ó Céidigh has told of his frustrations at the delays
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Potential presidential candidate Senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh has said President Michael D Higgins should have declared whether or not he will seek a second term "long before now".

Mr Ó Céidigh is the latest contender for Áras an Uachtaráin to express frustration at the uncertainty over Mr Higgins's intentions. The Independent senator and Aer Arann founder told the Irish Independent that he thinks Mr Higgins should have confirmed his plans in March or April.

"I don't think it's fair that he's leaving it so late and making it difficult for others to make up their minds or to get support," he added.

Mr Higgins can nominate himself for a second term but other candidates require the signature of 20 Oireachtas members or the backing of four local authorities to run.

Last night a spokesperson for Mr Higgins said the President has indicated he will make his decision in July.

He added: "The President wishes to emphasise that his decision does not, in any way, impinge on the Constitutional right of any citizen to seek a nomination for election to the Office of President of Ireland."

Mr Ó Céidigh said he's "confident" that he could secure support for a nomination either through the Oireachtas or by seeking the backing of local authorities.

He is to make a decision on whether or not to run in the coming weeks.

He said it will hinge on two factors - the views of his family and an assessment that he has a "realistic" chance of winning the election.

Mr Ó Céidigh said a successful run would mean a significant change to what he described as an "ordinary, rural family" and that becoming President would "change the goalposts for them".

Another Independent senator, Gerard Craughwell, has said he would like to run for the presidency and has criticised Mr Higgins for not yet announcing his plans. "Either he is running or he is not. He should just come out with it," he said at the weekend.

Irish Independent

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