Friday 23 August 2019

Noel Whelan announces he will not stand for presidential election

Noel Whelan is considering standing for the presidency. Picture: David Conachy
Noel Whelan is considering standing for the presidency. Picture: David Conachy
President Michael D Higgins. Photo: Tony Gavin
Pádraig O Céidigh. Photo: Tom Burke
Jane Last

Jane Last

Political pundit and barrister Noel Whelan says he will not stand for the presidential election.

Speaking on RTE Radio One's 'Today With Miriam' programme, Mr Whelan said he had given the matter some consideration before opting not to run for election.

Senator Joan Freeman. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Senator Joan Freeman. Photo: Gerry Mooney

When asked by broadcaster Miriam O'Callaghan if he had considered it seriously, he replied: "I did. We spent eight weeks... If Michael D Higgins wasn't running, then we wouldn't have waited until now. We would have put a campaign in place at beginning of last April. I mean I'm surprised at some of those who are focussed on it haven't put campaigns together from April or May.

"And in part because, when the incumbent is not running, you can envision the presidency, you can reimagine the presidency, you can put forward a proposal as to how you can re-purpose the presidency.

Liam O'Neill. Picture: Gerry Mooney
Liam O'Neill. Picture: Gerry Mooney

Last week, Mr Whelan, a former Fianna Fáil candidate for the Dáil and once a full-time party adviser, said he was considering seeking the support of four councils to stand as an Independent in the election expected on October 26th.

"I am engaged in a number of conversations on the matter and I will decide in the next week or 10 days," Mr Whelan told the Irish Independent last week.

Presidential hopeful Gerard Craughwell. Photo: Tom Burke
Presidential hopeful Gerard Craughwell. Photo: Tom Burke

Mr Whelan's announcement comes a day after former GAA President Liam O'Neill announced he was not going to stand in the election.

Last week, Mr O'Neill said he had been approached by a number of people who thought he should run.

However, on TV3's 'Tonight Show' last night, Mr O'Neill said he was not going to run after giving the matter some consideration.

Yesterday, Senator Gerard Craughwell pulled out of the race, after agitating for an election for almost a year.

Mr Craughwell said last night he believes his chief aim has been achieved because there will be an election in October.

Businessman and Dragon's Den's Gavin Duffy is expected to make an announcement soon as to whether he will run.

His co-star on Dragon's Den, Sean Gallagher, is also expected to state his intentions

Senator Joan Freeman, the founder of Pieta House, has already stated she intends to seek a nomination from the local authorities.

Her Seanad colleague, Independent senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh, who founded Aer Arran, is also seeking a nomination.

Sinn Féin is considering running John Finucane, the son of murdered solicitor Pat Finucane. Aged 38, he is a solicitor and brother of civil rights lawyer Michael Finucane.

A committee has now been put in place to field candidates, chaired by Waterford TD David Cullinane. Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan ruled herself out but her Brussels colleague Liadh Ní Riada, who is the Sinn Féin MEP for Ireland South and a native Irish speaker, is a potential contender.

Read more here: Craughwell quits Áras race leaving others a 'free run'

Michael D will be glad to see back of senator Senator Gerard Craughwell bows out of presidential race

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