Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein to announce its candidate for Irish President in September

By Cate McCurry

Sinn Fein will unveil its Irish presidential election candidate in September.

Chairman of the party's presidential election committee David Cullinane outlined the selection process yesterday.

Nominations will open on August 20 and close on September 10, with the party's ard chomhairle meeting six days later to select the candidate.

No one has yet officially put their name forward.

The candidate will challenge President Michael D Higgins after he announced his intention to seek a second term in office earlier this month.

"Sinn Fein is in this campaign to win," Mr Cullinane said.

"We want this to be a contest. We want this to be about the future of Ireland and a discussion about what type of society, what type of country we want."

He added that the candidate will embody the changes that were seen in the same-sex marriage and abortion referendum.

"A lot of women came out in big numbers in the last (abortion) campaign," he said.

"There are still massive issues in relation to gender pay and the patriarchal society women still live under.

"Women and men are demanding more social change and we want to see that.

"We want a candidate who can embody that, can reach out and speak to those people."

He denied that unveiling the candidate just six weeks before the election - proposed for October 26 - was an attempt to avoid full scrutiny.

"There will be plenty of time to put any and every question to that prospective candidate, we are not in the business of hiding," he said.

While Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour have all backed Higgins, a number of others have expressed an interest in running for the presidency.

Senator Gerard Craughwell indicated his interest saying it was important that an election would take place, however he withdrew from the campaign earlier this week.

Belfast Telegraph

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