Fianna Fáil are leaving open the possibility of fielding a candidate to run for Áras an Uachtaráin but will hold off deciding until President Michael D Higgins makes his position clear next month.
Party justice spokesman Jim O'Callaghan made the comments after weekend reports that the president has told government members he will seek a second term in the Park.
Mr O'Callaghan said Fianna Fáil would hold off making a decision about running someone or not until when Mr Higgins makes his decision public, which is expected next month.
[quote]When we hear his decision as a party we will meet and discuss it. It is obviously a matter for the leadership, for the front bench, for the parliamentary party. But we will make a decision when the president makes his decision known.[/quote]
Asked was the party then open to the idea of having its own candidate if there was a race, Mr O'Callaghan answered:
“We haven't ruled anything in, we haven't ruled anything out.”
Mr O'Callagan has said previously that he thinks Mr Higgins is doing a good job and that he would like to see him serve another seven years. But he added at Leinster House this morning:
“I don't think many people are putting themselves forward as of yet.”
President Michael D Higgins
Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald has also not ruled out her party running a candidate.
Presidential challenger Gerard Craughwell has called on Mr Higgins to clarify his position immediately on seeking another seven-year term.
During his initial presidential campaign, Michael D Higgins said he would only stay in the position for one term. However he appears to have changed his position now.
A provisional voting date of October 26 has been set to coincide with two referendums on blasphemy and the woman's place in the home.