Labour chooses Higgins as its presidency candidate

 

The Labour Party has chosen Michael D Higgins to run for the presidency.

The decision was made at special convention in Dublin this afternoon.

Three people were in contention for the nomination - Mr Higgins, former senator Kathleen O'Meara and former party adviser Fergus Finlay, who is chief executive of the Barnardos charity.

The decision was made by 54 members of the parliamentary party and 14 members of the executive board.

Labour confirmed the result on its official Twitter account. There were 37 votes for Mr Higgins, 18 for Mr Finlay and seven for Ms O'Meara.

The result means Mr Higgins becomes the first official candidate in the race to succeed President Mary McAleese in the autumn.

Mr Higgins, who retired as a TD for Galway West ahead of the general election earlier this year, was first elected to the Dáil in 1981. Educated at St Flannan's College in Ennis and UCG, he is a university lecturer, poet and author.

Fine Gael's Gay Mitchell and former president of the European Parliament Pat Cox have both declared an interest in the nomination for that party. It is also reported that former MEP Avril Doyle may join the race for the Fine Gael nomination.