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Ní Riada: Huge honour to be considered for Áras race

MEP Liadh Ní Riada has said she would be honoured to be considered to run for the presidency and nobody should be in office for 14 years without the full mandate of the electorate.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, the Ireland South MEP said she is keeping an open mind about possibly running for Áras an Uachtaráin but that she also has family commitments to consider.

It is the first confirmation of an interest in the position by the former RTÉ director and Irish speaker.

“It would be a huge honour to be considered by the party, not to say the least by the people of Ireland,” she said.

Sinn Féin said the nomination process for candidates will begin on August 20, take three weeks, and the leadership will decide on a suitable candidate by September 16. Nominations will be proposed by five cúige, or regional bodies. If more than one candidate emerges, private hustings will be held.

According to election committee member David Cullinane, the qualities being sought in the candidate include an ability to connect with people about Ireland’s future and an understanding of social and political change.

“All of our candidates would be open-minded, progressive and liberal, and embody the qualities we in Sinn Féin have, which are based on equality.

“We want somebody that will strike up a conversation about Irish unity,” he said.

President Micheal D Higgins has announced he will seek a second seven-year term. Several Independents have expressed an interest in the race, including senator Joan Freeman and businessman Gavin Duffy.

Ms Ní Riadha said she believes a presidential election is of national importance.

“I’m fond of Michael D Higgins,” she said. “I know him personally, as a friend, and he has done an excellent job. But I don’t think anybody for 14 years should be in power without the full mandate of people.”

Ms Ní Riadha added that the mother-of-three, and daughter of iconic legendary musician Seán O’ Riada, she had to consider her priorities.

“It is a big ask if you have a young family, who I need to talk to,” she said. “My first and foremost priority would be as a mother.”