Mary Lou McDonald calls for 'large national conversation' on women

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald has said the time is right for a "large national conversation" around women and young people among matters, as the party considers whether to challenge for a place in the Park.

Following President Michael D Higgins public confirmation today that he will seek a second term, the Sinn Fein leader said she could not think of a better time for a presidential contest.

The party will meet on Saturday and its Ard Comhairle will decide on whether the party will formally nominate and back a candidate,

A number of names have been linked with any such move, including party Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan.

Ms McDonald said she had a number of names in mind but a decision would not be made until Saturday.

Asked about whether Sinn Fein would support Independent candidates if the party does not field anyone for a contest. she said that anyone could contest a race.

Ms McDonald said there were a number of issues that needed to be part of a national conversation. These included issues around women and their rights, Brexit as well as young people.

She said she wished Michael D Higgins well though, after his decision today to seek a second seven-year term.

Earlier, Labour said it was "delighted" their former minister and TD Michael D Higgins would seek a second term. Party leader Brendan Howlin said Labour's executive council would meet on Thursday and was expected to formally endorse him for a second term.

People were very proud of him as a president, he added.

A candidate needs 20 Oireachtas signatures or the backing of four councils to be nominated to contest a presidential race.

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