Fergus Finlay 'very interested' in presidential bid but 'won't oppose Michael D'

President Higgins has yet to confirm whether he will seek a second term

Fergus Finlay 'very interested' in presidential bid but 'won't oppose Michael D'

Fergus Finlay, Chief Executive of Barnardos. Photo Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

The outgoing chief of Barnardos says he would be interested in running for president - but only if Michael D Higgins does not go for re-election.

President Higgins' term is up this autumn, and he has yet to indicate whether he will put himself forward for another seven years.

Fergus Finlay - who is stepping down from Barnardos - had sought the Labour nomination in 2011, but the party ultimately chose Michael D Higgins as their candidate.

Mr Finlay believes there should be an election, but says he will not run against the current president.

He told The Hard Shoulder: "If there were an election and he were not a candidate, I'd be very interested in having a go.

"I think you'd have to build a base... As it happens, the Labour party is not in a position to deliver the 20 Oireachtas votes that are necessary to give you a nomination - so you'd have to look outside that."

However, he stressed: "[President Higgins] has been a really distinguished president. I won't oppose Michael D."

He went on to say that President Higgins' presidency was "not the kind of presidency I'd have run".

He explained that he would run a "sleeves rolled up, community-based presidency" at the "coalface" of communities.  

Earlier this month, broadcaster Miriam O’Callaghan ruled herself out of any upcoming race for the presidency.

It followed intense speculation that she was planning a campaign for the Áras.

Independent senator Gerard Craughwell has previously vowed to take on President Higgins should the incumbent decide to stand for a second term.