Mary Davis has pledged to represent Ireland strongly on the world stage if elected president after she was officially declared a candidate.
After securing the backing of six county councils, the former Special Olympics Ireland chief said the country needed to repair its reputation.
Ms Davis has pledged to campaign tirelessly ahead of the October 27 vote.
"As this campaign progresses I believe that a real debate should begin about the type of presidency our people need, about the values that we wish to see reflected from Aras an Uachtarain, and about the way in which the presidency can work to repair Ireland's reputation on the international stage," Ms Davis said.
"This kind of healthy debate is what the country needs and the voters deserve."
Ms Davis has secured the support of Monaghan, South Tipperary, Galway, Sligo, Kerry and Wicklow county councils. She needed to win the backing of at least four to be allowed on the ballot paper.
She looks on course to fight it out with frontrunner Labour's Michael D Higgins and Fine Gael's Gay Mitchell, who also inadvertently shares her election slogan "Pride At Home, Respect Abroad".
Entrepreneur Sean Gallagher later also secured an official nomination after Cork City and Clare County councils decided to back him. The independent said he was delighted to be in the running..
Meanwhile, Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said the party would decide its approach to the presidential nomination process collectively.
Speculation has mounted that Independent Senator David Norris could dramatically reverse his decision to pull out of the campaign amid growing public support. Although stating Mr Norris had not contacted him, Mr Martin said the party would consider his position if he chose to re-enter the race.