Gerry Adams will not be Sinn Fein candidate for Ireland presidency, says McDonald
Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald has said Gerry Adams will not stand as the party's Irish presidential candidate.
The Irish presidential election will take place in November, with incumbent Michael D Higgins yet to state categorically if he will seek a second term.
Speaking to the Irish Times, Mrs McDonald said her party would field a candidate in the upcoming election, but that it would not be Gerry Adams.
Gerry Adams stepped down from his position as Sinn Fein leader in February, ending 34 years at the head of the party and adding to speculation he could be considering a possible run for the Aras.
In an interview with RTE's This Week in November last year, Mr Adams categorically stated he would not contest the presidency - in line with his plans not to contest any further political elections.
In her interview with the Irish Times, Mrs McDonald expressed admiration for President Higgins but said she believed there should be an election for the Irish presidency, and it would be "healthier to have the debate" than for Mr Higgins to be returned to office uncontested.
During his 2011 run for the Irish presidency Michael D Higgins stated he would only stand for one seven-year term, but since then has refused to rule out a second term in office.
President Higgins has drawn wide public support while in office, with opinion polls finding more than three quarters of people support him staying on in his position.
The declaration from Mrs McDonald that Sinn Fein plan to run a candidate would appear to rule out the possibility of Mr Higgins being returned uncontested.
Sinn Fein's former deputy first minister, the late Martin McGuinness contested the 2011 Irish presidential election, gathering 13.7% of the first preference vote and being eliminated on the third count.
Belfast Telegraph Digital