Why I'm not running for Irish president ---a tough decision to pull out of contest


I have decided not to run for the Irish presidency.

The logistical challenges of running for an office as an independent against established political parties is incredible.

This holds most notably on fund raising. The race costs about $700,000 to run a proper national campaign. The main political parties can easily raise that.

The independent candidates have to raise it for themselves at approximately $9,000 maximum contribution per person.

That is a lot of fund-raising --especially as you are trying to run a national campaign from scratch at the same time for an October election.

The party candidates will also be chosen by early July allowing them to begin competing in the election proper.

The independents will not finally know their fates until September when either the county councils or the parties not fielding candidates will agree to back them.

You need either 20 members of the Irish parliament or Seanad or the approval of four county councils.

It is a complicated system which overwhelmingly favors the big guns in the main political parties such as Fine Gael and Labor.

Bottom line, unless they are completely terrible candidates either the Labor or Fine Gael contender will win the race

I told my backers I would take until the end of June to come to my best conclusion. I have now done that. They have loyally supported my decision.

Quite simply I believe the race is not winnable for an independent, any independent, no matter what the current polls say because the dice is stacked.

I think I have been around enough political races, either supporting my brother, now a minister of state in Ireland or campaigns here in the US to see that writing on the wall.

But it was a fascinating adventure which came about in a surprising manner and I think highlighted the Irish abroad in a new way

It was an unexpected detour on life's road and I have to say I enjoyed it and met some great people along the way including so many over here who wished me well.

Thank you for all your kind messages of support.

'Ar Aghaidh Linn' as always.

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