Ó Muircheartaigh mulling Áras run

The voice of the GAA has said he will announce late next week whether he will throw his hat into the ring in the race for the presidency.

The voice of the GAA has said he will announce late next week whether he will throw his hat into the ring in the race for the presidency.

Former broadcaster Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh said he will consult his family over the next few days as he considers standing as an Independent candidate.

The Kerryman, who turns 81 next week, said age is not an issue and revealed that he has been encouraged by a groundswell of support among grassroots GAA fans.

“I have not decided so far but I certainly will before the end of next week,” he said.

“I never set out to be anything in the political sphere but there had been the odd reference over the last couple of years that I would be suitable.

“But what really has got to me is the vast surge of support among people.”

The renowned commentator said the question of whether to stand was vast and that he had not fully considered it. He also insisted he had not lost any sleep over suggestions he wanted to make a run for the Áras.

Mr Ó Muircheartaigh told RTÉ Radio he has support from the business and commercial world and some in politics and revealed that Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has not been in contact with him.

He began his career for Raidio Éireann in 1949 and retired from broadcasting last September after commenting on the All-Ireland final between Cork and Down.

Mr Ó Muircheartaigh said he would not expect to be formally backed by the GAA for a run for the Aras.

He celebrated his 80th birthday by climbing Mount Brandon in Co Kerry and joining a Raidio Na Gaeltachta broadcast from the 952m peak.

“Retiring from one thing does not mean that you sit down and take no part in anything – people should remain active as long as they like,” he said.

Mr Ó Muircheartaigh will pick up the broadcasting microphone once again this weekend when he commentates on a match for RTÉ’s 'Celebrity Bainisteoir' involving a team being managed by a potential rival for the Áras, Eurovision winner Dana.

She is expected to declare whether she wants another bid for the presidency after her role in the RTÉ show ends.

Broadcaster Gay Byrne announced on Saturday that he would not contest the presidential election after Fianna Fáil’s Mr Martin approached him to offer the party’s support for his nomination as an independent.

Mr Byrne, 77, said he did not have the “stomach” for the campaign.

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