Independent Roscommon Galway Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice has not ruled out contesting the Presidency in the event of a Presidential election taking place next year.
An election is due next year following the end of the seven year Presidential cycle and while there are views incumbent Michael D. Higgins should be allowed to serve a second term unopposed, Deputy Fitzmaurice does not agree.
“I would not be considered a supporter of Michael D. Higgins, it’s widely known, but I do believe there should be a contest for Presidency. If no-one has their name in the hat, then someone has to challenge” in what is a thinly veiled reference as to what Deputy Fitzmaurice’s intentions might be.
“We need someone not to be afraid to say things out and take things on. I believe now is the time for someone who’ll question things. We shouldn’t be rolling over and having no contest, someone great might emerge as a candidate.
President Higgins was elected to office in October 2011 and at that time, indicated he did not wish to seek a second term of office at the next election, due in autumn 2018. However it’s understood President Higgins may be re-considering his intentions.
It’s also believed that should President Higgins seek a second term, many of the political parties would be willing to allow President Higgins to stand unopposed, resulting in no electoral contest taking place.
There is precedence in this scenario as then President Mary MacAleese was allowed to stand unopposed in October 2004 after her first term of office had expired, having initially being elected to office in 1997. Similarly President Hillary was elected unopposed to serve a second term in 1983.
“If no-one is up for the challenge, someone should be prepared to take on a contest. I believe we need a contest, someone has to do it. We live in a democracy” said Deputy Fitzmaurice, who did not rule himself out of any possible contest.
“I’m more inclined to be a T.D. There is speculation out there – someone has put one and one together about me and made it 40! But I do believe someone has to come from somewhere. I believe there should be an Independent candidate and a contest” said Deputy Fitzmaurice.