Gay Byrne officially withdraws from race to become the next President
Late Late host informs Fianna Fail he will not be running in October poll
The Late Late run for the Presidency is over – Gay Byrne is officially out of the race to succeed Mary McAleese.
The veteran broadcaster has informed Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin that does intend to stand in the Presidential election.
Byrne made the decision after consulting with his family and in response to the huge media attention to his interest in the job.
He told reporters that he does not believe he is the sort of candidate the Irish electorate is looking for in a president at this moment in time.
The former Late Late Show presenter also said that he was "incredibly overwhelmed and grateful" for the support and encouragement he had received during his brief dalliance with the election campaign.
“I am relieved it is over. The turmoil has been considerable. This thing was forced on me. I didn’t ask for it. I never had any ambition to be President of Ireland,” he told the Sunday Independent.
Despite topping the opinion polls – and drawing widespread support for his anti-EU rant last week – Byrne refused to elaborate on the reasons behind his withdrawal.
“I am not going to be quizzed about this,” added the 77-year-old broadcaster.
“I am talking to you because I want to say thank you to the countless people from all over the country who so affected me by their loyalty to me in terms of offering support, money, everything.
“It was just incredible and quite overwhelming and I will never get a chance to thank them personally.”
Family concerns were clearly a factor behind the decision not to run in the October election.
Byrne added: “I have made my decision in consultation with the missus and daughters. The presidency is not for me at this time. I don’t think I am what people are seeking at the moment.
“There are already candidates who want to be President, and there may be more, and for them it is a worthy ambition and I wish them well and tell them to go forward with fortitude and valor.
“I am not going into the whys and wherefores. Maybe I will in another time or another place.”
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