The news was met with a hugely positive response on Twitter, though one putative candidate is complaining...
Michael D. Higgins announced today that he will be seeking a second term as President of Ireland.
The President (pictured here with Jackie Byrne) issued a short statement today, saying he will be "offering himself as an independent candidate, under Article 12.4.4 of Bunreacht na hÉireann, when the Ministerial Order for a Presidential Election is made later this year."
Many took to Twitter or had done so when rumours first swelled regarding the President's intention to give him their support. In general, the support for President Higgins was strong – not least among the artistic community, for whom Michael D. Higgins has long been a champion.
Why I support Michael D Higgins for a second term...President Higgins is a leader who has united the country and is a voice for those who are often denied a voice. President Higgins is widely respected internationally and has represented the country with honour and dignity.— Katherine Zappone (@KZapponeTD) July 2, 2018
I am proud Michael D. Higgins is our President, and pleased he has decided to seek a second term. Our country is lucky to have him and I can't think of a better statesman to represent us at home and abroad.— Joe O'Connor (@Jocser99) July 10, 2018
Delighted Michael D is putting himself forward for another term. We won't get anybody more presidential than Michael D Higgins. #aras— Eric Nolan (@ericnolanlab) July 10, 2018
President Higgins has served his country with distinction. He is a true Statesman and, in my opinion, is deserving of a 2nd term as Uachtarán na hÉireann.#MichaelDHiggins #mdh #Uachtarán #Ireland #Áras @PresidentIRL pic.twitter.com/uzxHcoSDf1— Frank Milling (@TippManInMeath) July 10, 2018
However, there has been backlash from predictable quarters regarding the 'timing' of the President's announcement.
For someone to run against him, they need the support of either 20 members of the Oireachtas or four local authorities. With the Dáil set to go on recess for the Summer, Independent Senator and self-styled presidential hopeful Gerard Craughwell is claiming that President Higgins has made it difficult for anyone else to make a bid.
Mind you, this view has been comprehensively dismissed by others, who note that there was nothing whatsoever stopping Senator Craughwell from starting his own campaign months ago. "Everyone knew when the Presidential term would come to an end," one government insider said. "For him to complain now about lack of time seems entirely without merit." But this is what the putative candidate is doing.
Before the announcement Senator Craughwell posted these statements to Twitter.
So @PresidentIRL has left us waiting for a decision about a 2nd Term. By his actions, even if he comes out this week, he will have attempted to kill off any challenge assisted by those who have closed ranks stopping nominations. We live in a #democracy or do we? You decide— Senator G Craughwell (@GCraughwell) July 9, 2018
Only the citizens of Ireland have the right to select our @PresidentIRL. The political parties have no right to gift the position even though they have 5 times of 11. Dislike me if you wish say you would never vote for me but at least I am fighting so as you can have a vote— Senator G Craughwell (@GCraughwell) July 9, 2018
Senator Craughwell then followed with this after President Higgins declared his intention.
Well now we know. President Higgins has self declared.— Senator G Craughwell (@GCraughwell) July 10, 2018
Check back with Hot Press for further news.
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