THE closure of nominations for the presidential election today saw a record seven candidates putting their names forward.
The past few months have seen an at times bruising nomination process as candidates jostled to win the support of Oireachtas members and local authorities.
The process itself has come under the spotlight but the overall effect has been good for democracy and transparency.
Today the seven candidates are under starter's orders with four weeks of tough campaigning ahead of them.
The line-up is intriguing to say the least, but each candidate must convince the public why they should be voted in as president in a time of great change for the country.
Let us hope the coming campaign is a positive one and that the goal of the office of the president is not damaged in any way by any underhanded efforts.