Fine Gael heavyweight Gay Mitchell is the latest candidate to throw his name into the hat to replace Mary McAleese as President of Ireland.
Mitchell, currently a Dublin representative in the European parliament, has confirmed he is close to putting his name forward as the Fine Gael candidate.
The popular Dubliner has told the Irish Independent that he has been approached by a number of party members who have asked him to consider the position.
“I was struck by the number and caliber of people who came to me asking me to consider it again,” Mitchell told the paper.
“I said I would consider it, but it won’t be a drawn-out process. I will make a decision by the end of the week.
“It hasn’t just been one or two. A lot of people in the parliamentary party have approached me and there’s been quite a range of people, young and old, and from outside Dublin.”
Fine Gael party bosses see Mitchell as a suitable candidate after former Prime Minister John Bruton declined their invitation to stand for election.
European parliamentarian Mairead McGuinness has already declared her intent to seek the Fine Gael nomination.
Former European representative Pat Cox has said he will join Fine Gael if the party wants him to run in the autumn contest.
Mitchell, now 59, served as a TD in the Irish parliament for 26 years from 1981 and was beaten by current Prime Minister Enda Kenny to the Fine Gael leadership in 2002.
Meanwhile the Labor Party look certain to select Michael D Higgins as their candidate for the presidential election when they meet next week.
Higgins is well ahead of rivals Fergus Finlay and Senator Kathleen O’Meara according to the Independent.
Senator David Norris is currently fighting to restore his favorite’s tag for the election after damaging quotes on pedophilia from an old interview were republished.

Gay Mitchell by the River Liffey in Dublin