The Labor Party has unanimously voted to send veteran Michael D. Higgins forward to the Presidential election.

The well known Galway politician easily dismissed the challenge of former party spin doctor Fergus Finlay and senator Kathleen O’Meara at the selection convention.

Former Minister for the Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, Higgins received 37 votes, Finlay was second on 18 with O’Meara well beaten into third spot with just seven votes.

The 70-year-old Higgins has vowed to conduct a lively election campaign in the coming months.

“It will be very energetic,” he promised after winning the selection vote at Dublin’s Mansion House.

He added: “I am very honored, very pleased and I intend to have a very energetic campaign that will bring me all over the country.

“There are limitations to what I can do as President but there are also very clear capacities.”

The Galwegian also claimed that his age is an advantage in the race to succeed Mary McAleese.
“Frankly, it is a real advantage to know, as it were, the architecture of the State,” he claimed.



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“I have accompanied Presidents abroad as a minister and I knew the boundaries of the Dáil and the cabinet in the Constitution. Age is an asset rather than an issue.”

Labor Party leader Eamon Gilmore vowed to back Higgins all the way to the Aras but without fighting the election on party political grounds.

He said: “Today the Labor Party has selected its candidate. We’re the first political party to put a candidate into the field for the presidential election, but I want to make it clear that we don’t see this as a partisan campaign.

“This is not going to be an election campaign like a general election between political parties.

“We are going to respect, from today, Michael D’s independence as a candidate in the same way as we will respect Michael D’s independence as president when he’s elected.”