Former Irish leader John Bruton and Special Olympics heroine Mary Davis are the latest names linked to the Presidential race.

Bruton, who led the Fine Gael led coalition government as Prime Minister, is his party’s preferred choice.

He has intimated to Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny that he is prepared to run for the Presidency if he receives guarantees on the expansion of the largely ceremonial role.

Meath man Bruton has asked for the guarantees at the end of a week that has seen current President Mary McAleese to the fore during the Queen’s historic visit to Ireland.

Already Euro MPs Mairead McGuinness and Sean Kelly have expressed their desire to run for Fine Gael in the autumn election.

Former European Parliament President Pat Cox has also said he is interested in running for the Presidency but Bruton is the Fine Gael leadership’s preferred choice for the job.

“John Bruton is the overwhelming favorite amongst ministers, the parliamentary party and grassroots members of Fine Gael all around the country,” one cabinet source told the Irish Mail on Sunday.

“He may take it and he has been made aware of our enthusiasm for his presidential candidacy.”

Another source added: “John Bruton is the number one choice of the party leadership and the Fine Gael party.

“He would be an experienced and internationally regarded President at a seminal moment on our history.”

Senator David Norris and businessman Sean Gallagher have already declared their intentions to run as independent candidates while Brian Crowley is likely to be the Fianna Fail nominee.

Support is also growing for Mary Davis to succeed Mary McAleese. Davis was the brains behind the organization of the Special Olympics in Ireland in 2003 and is also believed to be willing to run as an independent.