Northern Ireland news

Sinn Féin to field Irish presidential election candidate

Mary Lou McDonald said Sinn Féin would challenge Michael D Higgins in the upcoming Irish presidential election. Picture by Hugh Russell
Paul Ainsworth

Sinn Féin will field a candidate in the Irish presidential election, with a campaign aim of sparking conversation about “building a new, agreed and united Ireland”.

Party President Mary Lou McDonald said a candidate would be put forward following the announcement that Michael D Higgins would stand for re-election for a second term.

The decision was made at a meeting of Sinn Féin’s Ard Comhairle on Saturday, and a candidate will be selected in the coming months.

In 2011, the party fielded Martin McGuinness as a candidate, winning 13.7 percent of the vote, and Ms McDonald said there has been interest from a number of potential Sinn Féin candidates for the poll, which is expected to take place in November.

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Ms McDonald said: "Ireland and the world have changed in the seven years since we last had a presidential election. A new generation has become politically engaged and have been central to changing Ireland for the better as we saw in the marriage equality referendum and in the referendum to remove the Eighth Amendment. In those referenda, young people voted in unprecedented numbers.

"It is right that we give this generation the opportunity to be part of a wider conversation about what a better Ireland should look like."

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