It now looks certain that Sinn Fein will run a candidate for president of Ireland after party spokesman Martin Ferris stated it was under definite consideration.

A Sinn Fein candidate could do very well in such a race but more importantly, they are positioning themselves to be the leader of the opposition parties in the Irish parliament.

Fianna Fail's inexplicable decision to not run a candidate for the nation's highest office gives Sinn Fein an invaluable opening that they will be seeking to exploit.

The Fianna Fail brand has been so decimated that they decided against running a candidate but that begs the question of why they are in business at all.

Fianna Fail had won every Irish presidential election except one and not running a candidate is a sure sign of how extreme the parties' troubles are.

Party leader Michael Martin has been very shaky on the issue as he approached TV host Gay Byrne to run and promised Fianna Fail backing.

When Byrne backed out he was left with egg on his face.

Now Sinn Fein could well turn the screws when they announce their candidate.

Martin Ferris ruled himself out and that still leaves a slew of candidates available.

The best by far would be Dublin member of parliament Mary Lou McDonald who would present a young and modern face of Ireland.

McDonald, 42, a former European MP has been a rising star in the party for some time.

If she runs for president she would probably not win but a very positive showing would further increase SInn Fein's political presence and hand Fianna Fail another major defeat.