Two candidates confirmed to challenge Michael D Higgins for presidency

The race for Áras an Uachtaráin is officially underway.

Two candidates confirmed to challenge Michael D Higgins for presidency

The race for Áras an Uachtaráin is officially underway.

Two candidates have now been confirmed to run against Michael D.Higgins.

Senator Joan Freeman and businessman Sean Gallagher have both secured enough backing to run for the position.

As of last night, there are now three people vying for the role of President of Ireland.

Incumbent Michael D Higgins automatically qualifies as he is sitting President.

Former Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte says Michael D Higgins is in a strong position.

"It looks like five names and it looks like there won't be more than five names, but that could change.

"Of course he is beatable, in any election it's not a foregone conclusion but he's in a very strong position - his poll figures would show that.

"I think it's because of his reputation and his reputation in the office of president."

He will now be joined by Independent Senator Joan Freeman who last night secured the backing of Galway City Council.

Earlier in the day, she gained the support of Galway County Council and Fingal County Council.

She also has the nomination of Cork City Council since the beginning of this month.

Meanwhile, Sean Gallagher rounded off his quest to run for President with excess support when he was nominated by five councils: Wexford, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon and Cavan.

Meanwhile, his former Dragons Den co-star, Gavin Duffy, is nearly at the required quota of four councils with support from three: Wicklow, Meath and Carlow.

Sinn Fein is yet to announce its preferred candidate with speculation suggesting it may be Munster MEP Liadh Ni Riada.

Nominations close on September 26 with the election a month later on October 26.

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