Michael D. Higgins confirms he will stand for second term as president

A number of parties have indicated they will not stand against him

Updated 16.35

The President Michael D Higgins has confirmed that he will be putting himself forward for a second term as President.

In a statement, President Higgins said he will stand as an independent candidate when a new election is called later this year.

The election is likely to be held in October alongside the planned referendum on the woman’s place in the home.

Fianna Fáil has confirmed that they will not field a candidate to stand against the president.

The Fine Gael parliamentary party will meet tomorrow to discuss the issue.

The Labour Party, President Higgins’ former party, has suggested it will not stand against him.

Sinn Féin however has given a strong indication that it will do so.

The party's Ard Chomhairle will meet on Saturday to decide whether the party should enter a candidate to run against Michael D Higgins.

Leader Mary Lou McDonald told the Pat Kenny show that it is important they do. 

"We live in a democratic system and it is absolutely imperative that citizens have their say," she said.

"A seven year term in any event is a very long term.

"But at 14 years, without not just the mandate and the sanction and the votes of the people; but the debate and the consideration - I just think that is unhealthy."

Candidates will need at least 20 members of the Oireachtas or at least four local authorities to back their bid.

Candidates

Artist Kevin Sharkey has already put his name forward for the role.

The Dublin-based artist from Donegal said he has already been speaking to county councils and several members of the Oireachtas.

He claimed his presidency would be more vibrant than that of Michael D Higgins.

"The last five nominees for the presidency were pretty much from the same club," he said.

"I am just your average citizen, with all the foibles and mistakes that I have made,but I have learned so much from it.

"I believe that we are ready now to elect a president who is representative of the real people of Ireland - not just the elite."

Meanwhile, the outgoing head of Barnardos, Fergus Finlay recently told Newstalk that he would be interested in running – but not against President Higgins.

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern made a similar claim.

Meanwhile, broadcaster Miriam O’Callaghan has also ruled herself out of any upcoming race.

"All of the people in here are going on holidays"

Senator Gerard Craughwell has repeatedly put his name forward – if enough members of the Oireachtas will support his bid.

This afternoon he voiced his anger at the timing of President Higgins’ announcement.

“I am deeply disappointed that the president has chosen to do exactly what he criticised his predecessor for in 2004,” he said.

“That is to announce in the last week of the Oireachtas that he is running.

“Effectively all of the people in here are going on holidays; there will be no writ for an election before the autumn and it makes for a very, very, very tight election schedule.

“But look, that is the nature of the world.

“There is an election on, now we know that my job is to get a nomination and to ensure that we don’t have a coronation.”

He previously suggested he had already secured the support of 17 members, meaning he would need three more to secure a nomination.

Sean Gallagher - who contested the 2011 election, receiving the second largest number of votes - today said he has written to all local authorities about a presidential election.

Sean Gallagher and Michael D Higgins. Photo: Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie

The businessman does not seek a nomination himself in the letter, but urges all council chiefs to "ensure that you and your Council colleagues exercise your constitutional right to nominate a candidate if you so wish".

Highlighting the limited time before an autumn election, he adds: "It now rests fully with the elected members of every local authority to ensure that the election to the highest office in the land is not stymied by any individual, group or political party."