Gerard Craughwell: I would've had to remortgage my house to contest presidential election

Update 6.32pm: Senator Gerard Craughwell says he would have had to remortgage his house to contest the presidential election.

The Independent pulled out of the race for the Arás this morning.

Senator Craughwell had vocally called for someone to oppose Michael D Higgins and trigger an election.

Now that other contenders will run, Senator Craughwell said the financial situation has changed for him.

"A presidential election is not for the foolhardy and it's certainly not for those who would have to remortgage their house in the hope they might win it," said Senator Craughwell.

"It's a bittersweet experience for me today. I have won what I set out to do, we will have a democratic election. I will sadly not be a party of that.

"It would have been one thing if it was just myself and Michael D Higgins.

"It would've been a David and Goliath battle, and I'm very happy to run a David and Goliath battle.

"The problem I would've had in running for the presidency was getting my message out without the money. So it was money [that caused me to drop out of the race]."

Digital Desk

Original story (9.25am): Gerard Craughwell withdraws from presidential race

Independent senator Gerard Craughwell has pulled out of the presidential election race after claiming he has achieved his "objective" by forcing a contest for the position, writes Fiachra Ó Cionnaith.

Mr Craughwell confirmed the move in a statement this morning in which he said his only ambition when he put his name forward last year was to ensure a race took place.

"I opened up what has been the first serious national conversation on the presidential nomination and election process.

"I will now stand aside and take no further part other than to wish each and every candidate success in their campaign," Mr Craughwell said.

While the Independent senator has cited the now emerging contest as the reason why he does not feel the need to officially run, questions over whether his campaign would receive the necessary support have increased in recent weeks.

Among those still bidding to unseat President Michael D Higgins are Independent senator Joan Freeman, Independent senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh and an as yet unnamed Sinn Féin candidate.

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