Saturday 25 May 2019

Presidential election confirmed as Sinn Fein decide to field candidate

President Michael D Higgins
President Michael D Higgins
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

A Presidential election is now a certainty after Sinn Fein this afternoon decided to field a candidate.

The decision was made following a meeting of the party's Ard Comhairle today.

A candidate will be selected at a later date.

The party has set up a committee, chaired by Waterford TD David Cullinane, to establish a process for selecting a candidate. This process is expected to be outlined in the next 10 days. A candidate will then be nominated in the coming months.

Party leader Mary Lou McDonald said there has already been considerable interest from a number of potential candidates.

She said it was important the party ran a candidate and that an election was run so young voters could have a say in who the president should be.

She noted nobody under the age of 25 has had an opportunity to vote in a presidential election, adding they should not have to wait until they are 32-years-old.

"Ireland and the world have changed in the seven years since we last had a presidential election.  A new generation has become politically engaged and have been central to changing Ireland for the better as we saw in the marriage equality referendum and in the referendum to remove the Eighth Amendment. In those referenda, young people voted in unprecedented numbers," Mrs McDonald said in a statement.

“It is right that we give this generation the opportunity to be part of a wider conversation about what a better Ireland should look like. These citizens should be given the opportunity to be part of deciding who our President is.  Those under the age of twenty-five have never voted in a Presidential election.  They shouldn’t have to wait until the age of thirty-two to have this opportunity," she added.

The Green Party has confirmed its Oireachtas members and councillors will have freedom to endorse a candidate in the upcoming election.

This could prove key for would-be candidates seeking the necessary 20 nominations from Oireachtas members to secure a place on the ballot.

A Green Party spokesman told a meeting of its executive committee this morning decided it Oireachtas members and councillors will be free to endorse candidates.

“We are happy to consider and facilitate possible candidates. We are however waiting for the full field of candidates to come forward.”

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