Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has confirmed that his party will not be fielding a candidate to challenge President Michael D. Higgins today.
Fianna Fáil will be supporting his candidacy in the run up to the election in November.
Speaking following a meeting with his party colleagues in Leinster House today, Deputy Martin said: “President Higgins has served the country with great distinction over the course of his first term both at home and around the world.
“He enjoys widespread support across the country and has demonstrated his understanding and connection with communities across a broad range of issues in recent years.
“His national leadership during our celebration of the centenary of the Easter Rising set the absolutely correct tone, and as we approach a series of centenaries of potentially more divisive events in our shared history, his experience and leadership will serve the country well.
“For these reasons, I spoke with the Fianna Fáil Frontbench and Parliamentary Party today and confirmed our view that Fianna Fáil will not field a candidate to challenge President Higgins and will be supporting his candidacy, in the event of him seeking a second term in Áras an Uachtaráin.”
Michael D. Higgins pipped former Fianna Fáil member Sean Gallagher to the presidency in 2011 following allegations made by the late Martin McGuinness in the final RTÉ debate.
McGuinness said that Gallagher, who was leading in the opinion polls until that point, collected a cheque for €5,000 from a “convicted criminal and fuel smuggler” which he denied at first before admitting to the accusation later in the programme.
Michael D. Higgins was also briefly a member of Fianna Fáil, before joining the Labour Party.