Fianna Fáil has also said it will support the incumbent president.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says Michael D Higgins ‘deserves a second term’ pic.twitter.com/NrmGRFQrjp
— TheJournal Politics (@TJ_Politics) July 11, 2018
THE FINE GAEL party is to support Michael D Higgins in his bid for a second term as President of Ireland.
The parliamentary party met this evening to discuss its position on the possible upcoming election in October, and the party has opted to back Higgins. Fianna Fáil has also said it will support the incumbent president.
Speaking at Leinster House this evening, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that Higgins “deserves a second term”.
He said: “The recommendation we are making today is that the Fine Gael party will support President Higgins’ bid for re-election… We think he has done an excellent job as President.”
Varadkar added he would commit party resources to Higgins’ bid for a second term.
It is understood that the party decided that Fine Gael councillors will not be allowed to support the nomination of any independent candidates for the presidency.
Speaking to reporters earlier today, the Taoiseach said:
“Obviously the decision isn’t a simple one as to whether we are contesting or not contesting the election,” he said, adding: “It’s also a decision as to whether we’re going to actively support one candidate or not.
“If we decide to actively support a candidate that will mean active support, not assisting other candidates and contributing to the campaign in all the ways that you normally do in a national campaign.”
Communications Minister Denis Naughten wouldn’t be drawn on whether or not he will support Higgins.
“That’s something I’ll discuss with my own team. I haven’t had the opportunity to do that yet. I will be doing that over the next few days,” he said.
Independent senators Gerard Craughwell, Pádraig Ó Céidigh and Joan Freeman have all indicated they are interested in throwing their hat in the ring.