After Fianna Fail said it will support President Higgins for a second term in office, now a senior member of Fine Gael is urging his party colleagues to give him a clear run if he wishes to remain in the Park.
"I have not seen any potential other candidate with the credibility and understanding of Michael D Higgins," MEP Brian Hayes has said.
The former TD said that President Higgins is "head and shoulders" above any other possible candidate , adding that he believes him to have the "overwhelming support" of the public.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, he added: "We are from opposite ends of the ideological spectrum on many issues, but I've always respected him."
Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin TD confirmed last month that his party will not be fielding a candidate to challenge President Higgins and will be supporting his candidacy, should he decide to seek a second term in office.
Deputy Martin commented, "President Higgins has served the country with great distinction over the course of his first term both at home and around the world.
"He enjoys widespread support across the country and has demonstrated his understanding and connection with communities across a broad range of issues in recent years.
"His national leadership during our celebration of the centenary of the Easter Rising set the absolutely correct tone, and as we approach a series of centenaries of potentially more divisive events in our shared history, his experience and leadership will serve the country well.
"For these reasons, I spoke with the Fianna Fáil Frontbench and Parliamentary Party today and confirmed our view that Fianna Fáil will not field a candidate to challenge President Higgins and will be supporting his candidacy, in the event of him seeking a second term in Áras an Uachtaráin."
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