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

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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