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Next Irish President: Who will ‘take over from Michael D Higgins’ in top seat?

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Irish President Michael D Higgins will see his second and final term come to an end in the coming years. But who will replace him?

Current leader Higgins was first elected in October 2011, before being re-elected for a second term in 2018. But with the president only able to hold office for a maximum of two terms, the country will soon require another leader.

The country has already undergone political reform this year, with the election called by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar last month ending in a hung parliament.

And Ireland could see further change at the very top in the near future. There are several candidates hoping to replace Higgins as President upon the end of his tenure.

Current favourite Mairead McGuinness is currently 4/1 to become the next Irish president. McGuinness is a member of Fine Gael, belonging to the same party as Varadkar. She has served as the First Vice-President of the European Parliament since 2017.

Fergus Finlay, a former senior member of the Irish Labour Party, is her nearest rival at 6/1. Finlay was the Chief Executive of the charity Barnardos in the country as recently as 2018. But he is now in the race to become the next president of Ireland.

Also in contention are Ruairi Quinn and John Finucane at 9/1 and 10/1 respectively. The latter has vast experience in politics after serving as Minister for Education and Skills, along with previous spells as both Leader and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. 

And the former boasts a long history of politics as a Sinn Fein politician and as Lord Mayor of Belfast in Northern Ireland.

Also at 10/1 to take over from Michael D Higgins are Emily O’Reilly and Miriam O’Callaghan. 

Eamon O’Cuiv is available at 11/1, while Sean Kelly and Lynn Ruane are currently 20/1 and 22/1 respectively.

As a representative of the Irish state, the position is largely a ceremonial role. But the president does exercise certain powers, albeit limited ones. The official residence for the president is in Phoenix Park in Dublin. And it will have a new incumbent in the near future.

Those interested in the position must be a citizen of Ireland, be at least 35 years of age and be nominated by members of the Houses of Parliament in the country, or else by city councils or indeed themselves in certain circumstances.

Sports Journalism graduate, Liverpool and Northern Ireland fan. Currently working as a freelance journalist for GOAL, while I am a graduate of the FISU Young Reporters Programme at the 2019 Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Can follow me on Twitter or view my linkdin biography or contact me via my email .

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