Senator claims he has ‘massive support’ for presidential bid

‘We live in a democracy - not Turkey’: Gerard Craughwell calls for election to be held

Independent Senator Gerard Craughwell believes he has "massive support" for his bid for the presidency.

He told RTÉ's Today with Sean O'Rourke show that he was confident that he would get on the ballot paper. "Hell may freeze over, but I'll be there, high up on the ballot paper."

Senator Craughwell said he believed, as a former member of the defence forces, he would have support from veterans. “They will come out in force.”

He called on President Michael D Higgins to reveal his plans and for the two main political parties Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to put forward candidates. He claimed they did not want to put forward candidates because of the cost to run a campaign.


“Today we’re hearing criticism about Turkey. We live in a democracy that was hard won,” said Mr Craughwell, who is also a former president of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland.

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice also called on the President to confirm if he was going to run again. Referring to Mr Higgins' campaign pledge to only run for one term, Mr Fitzmaurice said: "I'm not hung up about what he said seven years ago."

“We are only four months away from the date of the election. In the interests of democracy there should be an election,” he continued.

Referendums “were being lined up” on other issues, so it was possible to hold them all on the same date at no extra cost. It was “not a good thing” that the main political parties were not putting forward candidates, Mr Fitzmaurice added.

Senator Craughwell claimed Fianna Fáil’s local councillors wanted the party to put forward a candidate. “They have said they want a contest.”

Mr Fitzmaurice said it appeared the main political parties would prefer to keep funds for a general election. This was “scandalous”, he said.