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Sinn Fein picks McGuinness as presidential candidate while race for Aras heats up

Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness will be put forward as the party’s candidate for president.

While it is understood the North's Deputy First Minister McGuinness is still a few short of the required backing of 20 Oireachtas members, party president Gerry Adams announced the selection today.

“The officer board will recommend that the candidate will be Martin McGuinness,” Mr Adams said.

“Sinn Féin believes that the office of Uachtarán na hÉireann has been made more relevant by Mary Robinson and by President Mary McAleese.

“This is a time of great challenge for all the people of Ireland.

“It will be a great honour for me to propose Martin McGuinness to contest this election on a broad, republican, citizen-centred platform.”

The proposal will be made at the Sinn Fein Ard Comhairle this weekend.

Former Stormont minister Michelle Gildernew was understood to be among the contenders that Sinn Fein was considering.

The move comes ahead of expectations that David Norris, who pulled out of the running earlier this summer, will revive his campaign this weekend.

He is expected to discuss his renewed attempts to secure a nomination on tonight’s Late Late Show.

He pulled out of the race in August over the controversy concerning his former partner Ezra Nawi.

Fianna Fáil will decide Tuesday whether to allow TDs and Senators to nominate candidates.

Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú has sought support from his colleagues to run as an Independent.

Other candidates include Fine Gael’s Gay Mitchell, Labour’s Michael D Higgins, Mary Davis and Sean Gallagher.