Northern Ireland news

Presidential hopefuls includes a number of unusual outsiders

Sean Gallagher pictured with the late Martin McGuinness during the 2011 Irish Presidential race.

While a number of people have expressed an interest in standing as independent candidates against current Irish President Michael D Higgins several more are expected to confirm over the coming days.

To gain a place on the ballot paper aspiring candidates need at least 20 signatures from TDs and Senators or by winning the backing of four county councils.

Michael D Higgins, thought to be all but sure thing, can automatically go forward as sitting president. Paddy Power bookmakers are currently offering odds of 1/4 for the incumbent to be returned.

Seán Gallagher, Irish entrepreneur and businessman came second in the 2011 Presidential election, has been given a 5/1 chance.

Gavin Duffy: A businessman and also a Dragons' Den panellist has already addressed a number of councils to secure support, he's at odds of 12/1.

Joan Freeman: The founder of Pieta House a mental health charity, has also lobbied councils, TDs and Senators to secure a nomination, is available at odds 25/1.

Kevin Sharkey: The Donegal artist and former TV presenter has called for a referendum on Ireland's EU membership. He's a 100/1 outsider.

Sinn Féin have yet to announce its candidate, among the possibilities are the Munster MEP Liadh Ní Riada 33/1 and north Belfast solicitor John Finucane. 20/1

Pádraig Ó Céidigh: An Independent senator and Galway businessman, has yet to officially announced whether he will run. 66/1

Gemma O'Doherty: A freelance journalist, announced her plans to run last week and has asked her supporters to contact their TDs and Senators to lobby them to sign her nomination papers. 25/1

Marie Goretti Moylan: A former civil servant from Athlone has already started her nomination campaign despite being a 200/1 outsider.

John Groarke, a farmer from Co Roscommon, has also said he wants to run again. Paddy Power have him at odds of 200/1.

By far the most unusual prospective candidate is pro-Trump, pro-life, Marilyn Monroe impersonator Sarah-Louise Mulligan who is such an outsider there are no odds being offered.

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