Mairead tipped for presidency
Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuiness is currently joint favourite to be the next President of Ireland.
The Ardee native joins former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Barnardos CEO Fergus Finlay and EU ombudsman Emily O'Reilly at odds of 8/1 to be the next resident of Áras an Uachtaráin.
Ms McGuiness didn't rule herself out of a possible contest when asked about it earlier this year.
Last January, she said she believes 'there will be a contest' and 'she will be guided by her party's wishes as to whether it will contest the position'.
"The fact that I put my name forward the last time clearly shows that I had an interest," she told the Examiner. "At the moment I am vice president of the European Parliament, so I would have to look at this, but I would really be guided by the party and what the party wishes are.'
The four frontrunners found themselves leading the field, after previous favourite Miriam O'Callaghan ruled herself out of contention.
Ms O'Callaghan tweeted on Friday that she would not be a candidate and her removal from the betting has left four candidates sharing favouritism to replace Michael D. Higgins.
McGuinness was the first female graduate of University College Dublin's Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics in 1980. In 1984, she completed a diploma in accounting and finance and followed a career in the media before entering politics in 2004. She worked as a researcher on The Late Late Show, as a presenter on RTÉ's Ear to the Ground and Celebrity Farm, a journalist with the Irish Farmers Journal and editor of the Irish Independent's farming supplement.
In early 2004, McGuiness declared her intention to seek a nomination for the European Parliament election for Fine Gael, where she is now Vice President of the European Parliament.
In April 2011, McGuiness announced that she wished to run for President of Ireland and would seek the Fine Gael party nomination for the 2011 presidential election. She was defeated for the nomination by Gay Mitchell.
However, there is speculation the Louth woman could also be the new president of the European Parliament, pending the results of this weekend's Italian election.
Reports about Ms McGuinness taking over from current President Antonio Tajani have increased in recent weeks.
Other runners tipped to be in the race for the Irish Presidency include Sean Gallagher, Gerry Adams and Enda Kenny.
President Michael D Higgins could have at least two challengers should he decide to run for a second term. Senator Gerard Craughwell has already confirmed his intention to seek a nomination, as has artist Kevin Sharkey.