Mitchell to seek FG nomination


Dublin MEP Gay Mitchell has announced his intention to seek the Fine Gael nomination to run in the forthcoming presidential election.

Mr Mitchell, who last year ruled himself out of the contest but has expressed an interest again after former leader John Bruton ruled himself out, said he was surprised by the number of colleagues who wanted him to stand. He is a former Lord Mayor of Dublin, TD and minister of state.

He contested the Fine Gael leadership in 2002 but lost out to Enda Kenny.

Mr Mitchell said his political approach was informed by "a Christian Democratic ethos, based on four pillars: rights and responsibilities, enterprise and social justice".

"I want to advance this ethos in public life and I see the Presidency as another way of doing so," he said. "My belief is that this ethos, if applied sensibly, will help equip Ireland to overcome some of our present economic and ethical difficulties and make us a country which others will want to emulate."

He said he wanted to be president of "an Ireland that had a true republican spirit".

Earlier this week, former president of the European Parliament Pat Cox applied to join Fine Gael, confirming his interest in becoming the Fine Gael candidate.

Mr Cox is a former TD for the Progressive Democrats and independent MEP. He also ran for Fianna Fáil unsuccessfully in the 1979 local elections.

Ireland East MEP Mairead McGuinness is also seeking the Fine Gael nomination. She joined the party ahead of the European elections in 2004.