And then there were four – former European parliamentarian Avril Doyle is to contest the Fine Gael nomination for the Presidential election.
Doyle confirmed her decision to put her name forward on Sunday, the day the Labor Party met to decide on its candidate.
Wexford politician Doyle will contest the Fine Gael nomination with European deputy Mairead McGuinness, Dublin’s Gay Mitchell and former Progressive Democrat guru Pat Cox who only joined the party last week.
The Labor Party convention on Sunday will decide between party president Michael D. Higgins, former spin doctor Fergus Finlay and former deputy Kathleen O’Meara.
Doyle’s decision to run has only muddied the waters as far as the Fine Gael party is concerned.
Leader and Prime Minister Enda Kenny has already said he will not be backing any of the candidates and will leave the decision up to the rank and file.
A former deputy in Leinster House for the Wexford constituency, Doyle was a member of the European parliament for 10 years.
Cox was the winner of a recent Fine Gael opinion poll before Doyle declared her intention to run but there is some opposition to his late entry into the race after only applying to join the party last week.
The former PD deputy leader and European member has admitted he faces an uphill battle to win the nomination.
Mitchell is already campaigning for the Aras seat. He said: “If elected I will promote unity in diversity, but not a diversity that includes only the politically correct.
“That unity would include those with an Irish, Irish and British, and Irish and European identity.”