Social Democrats TD Holly Cairns has announced her intention to run for the leadership of the party.
There has been much speculation in recent days about who would take on the role after Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shorthall stepped down earlier this week.
Gary Gannon ruled himself out of the running early on.
Nominations will close at 12pm on Wednesday, March 1st. If there is a contested election, polls will close at the end of March and voting will be by digital ballot.
I’m excited to announce that I am putting myself forward to be the next leader of the Social Democrats.
— Holly Cairns TD (@HollyCairnsTD) February 26, 2023
Deputy Cairns is not expected to be challenged as the remaining Social Democrat TDs, Jennifer Whitmore and Cian O'Callaghan, have said publicly that they will back her.
In a video posted to Twitter today. Deputy Whitmore said: "I'm delighted to hear that Holly is putting herself forward for the leadership of the Social Democrats."
"I'm putting my full support behind her. I think Holly would make an incredible leader for the party and I'm looking forward to the next chapter."
— Jennifer Whitmore TD (@WhitmoreJen) February 26, 2023
Deputy Shorthall and Deputy Murphy said they will continue to represent their constituencies, and they both intend to stand in the next general election.
Deputy Shortall said they were put under no pressure to step down, but that whoever succeeds them will need time to get established.
"We want to ensure that whoever succeeds us as party leader would have time to bed in and get established, and get to travel the country and meet the various branches and all of that," she said.
Deputy Murphy said time was the main reason for their decision.
"That is the absolute main reason - because of the time," she said.
"I know people would like there to be other reasons, but there isn't," she added.
Main image shows Social Democrats TD Holly Cairns. Picture by: Sasko Lazarov / RollingNews.ie