Michael D Higgins to seek second term as Irish President
Ireland's President Michael D Higgins has confirmed he will seek a second term as head of state.
Mr Higgins said he is to offer himself as an independent candidate when the Ministerial Order for a Presidential Election is made later in the year.
The Irish government has been informed of his decision.
Mr Higgins was in Co Mayo when the announcement statement was released on Tuesday morning, and is expected to comment later.
He has served as president since November 2011, but could face an election challenge after Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald strongly hinted earlier this month that her party could put forward a candidate to contest any election for the post.
Independent senator Gerard Craughwell has also expressed an interest in running as a candidate.
During the 2011 presidential election, Mr Higgins said he would only stand for one term.
To contest the election, he will need the support of 20 Oireachtas members or support from local councils.
If he succeeds in becoming a candidate, then an election is expected to be held in October 2018.
Mr Higgins will continue with his official duties and engagements.