Gay Byrne will not run for President of Ireland and will formally withdraw from the race to succeed Mary McAleese on Wednesday.

That’s the view of close friends of the Irish broadcasting legend who has topped the opinion polls in the Presidential election campaign.

The Irish Independent quotes close and personal friends of Byrne in its story that the 77-year-old will not seek the highest office in the land.

The associates have told the paper that Byrne has already made up his mind not to run but will only confirm it after a family conference when his daughter returns from France on Monday.

Close friends are adamant that the broadcaster will not allow his name to go forward despite huge support from the public.

“I believe he has made up his mind not to run but he has been astonished by the reaction of the public and the media,” one close friend told the Irish Independent.

Another source close to Byrne said: “I told Gay he would be better served by ending the speculation before the weekend. I believe he has made up his mind not to run but he has been astonished by the reaction of the public and the media.”

Another friend said: “If this goes on through the weekend and into next week, a lot of people will be very disappointed if Gay decides not to be a candidate.

“Gay has been around long enough to know that the media will turn against him if they feel he has led them on and then let them down.”

Currently relaxing at his Donegal holiday home, Byrne has confirmed that he will issuing a statement on Wednesday after he consults his daughter.

“I am not making any decision until I talk to her about it,” said Byrne.“I will make the announcement when I make the announcement.

“My daughter is not back from France until Monday. These are matters that need to be discussed with my family. I will not be putting out a statement until Wednesday. I am on my way up to Donegal until then.

“Again and again, I am being told there is no rush on me. Everybody is on holiday. Micheal Martin is on holiday. All of Fianna Fail are on holiday.

“Anybody who has anything to do with this, apart from the media, is on holiday. So I don’t have to make up my mind.”

Byrne cited the Mary McAleese example as proof that there is no rush on him to make a decision.

He added: “Mary McAleese declared seven weeks before the election and she is the President. Seven weeks in this case is in the middle of September and we are only just in the middle of August.

“Yes, I am still considering it and the only people who are pushing me are the newspapers.”