Cox to seek nomination for presidency

FORMER European Parliament president Pat Cox is seeking a nomination for the presidency and has suggested the new office holder should be given stronger powers.

The former Progressive Democrats TD said he was taken aback by the support he was getting to run for presidency.

“I was surprised at the extent of encouragement I got from certain people. It’s a big personal decision for oneself, for one’s family,” he said.

“It’s a long commitment, it’s a seven-year commitment. I wanted to think it through. I’ve now started to go back over the people who’ve contacted me and see what view they have about the presidency and what it might do and also what sense they have about the process of nomination and how one might go about that,” he added.

Candidates seeking nomination for the Park must have the backing of at least 20 Oireachtas members or the support of four local authorities.

While candidates for Fine Gael and Labour have emerged, Fianna Fáil has yet to decide on plans for a nomination. Party councillors were told they can back their preferred candidate.

Fianna Fáil sources said Mr Cox had made no formal approach to FF’s leadership. But Mr Cox’s admittance that he wants a nomination will put pressure on parties to make up their minds.

Bookies’ favourite Senator David Norris this week received the backing of Fingal County Council and the Independent is also due to address councils in Carlow and Wexford next month.

Mr Cox yesterday told Newstalk 106’s Breakfast Show: “I’ve shifted a gear from thinking about it to thinking about how I might win a nomination. It’s an exploratory phase.”

He said the constitutional role of president in Ireland was extremely limited. He praised comments by President Mary McAleese last week where she defended the retention of Ireland’s low corporation tax.

Mr Cox told RTÉ yesterday that he had held no conversations with parties yet. He said FF leader Micheál Martin was keeping an open mind about a candidate.

The 58-year-old said he had a lot of experience and defending Ireland’s reputation would be part of any presidential challenge.


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