Sinn Fein selects Liadh Ni Riada as candidate for Irish presidential election

(left to right) Sinn Fein Vice President Michelle O'Neill, MEP Liadh N' Riada and Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald at a press conference in Dublin on Sunday, where it was confirmed that Liadh will be the Sinn Fein party candidate in the Irish presidential election. Photo credit should read: Tom Honan/PA Wire
(left to right) Sinn Fein Vice President Michelle O'Neill, MEP Liadh N' Riada and Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald at a press conference in Dublin on Sunday, where it was confirmed that Liadh will be the Sinn Fein party candidate in the Irish presidential election. Photo credit should read: Tom Honan/PA Wire

Sinn Fein has confirmed that MEP Liadh Ni Riada will be its candidate in the Irish presidential election.

The party’s ruling council — ard chomhairle — selected the 52-year-old at a meeting in Dublin on Sunday.

The former TV producer, who is daughter of legendary Irish trad musician and composer Sean O Riada, is a vocal Irish language advocate and one of Sinn Fein’s four MEPs.

She becomes the fifth name in the mix for next month’s poll.

Sitting president Michael D Higgins, who was first elected in 2011, has already announced his intention to run for a second term.

Two businessmen who were both investors on the Irish version of Dragons’ Den — Sean Gallagher and Gavin Duffy — are running as independent candidates, as is mental health advocate Senator Joan Freeman.

The trio all secured the required endorsement of four local councils in order to officially become candidates.

As incumbent, Mr Higgins is able to nominate himself while Sinn Fein has the necessary political strength in the Irish parliament to name its own candidate.

The two biggest parties — Fine Gael and Fianna Fail — are both backing Mr Higgins for a second stint, as is the Labour Party.

A range of other would-be independent candidates still retain hope of convincing undeclared councils to back their bids before the September 26 deadline.

The election is taking place on October 26.