Michael D. Higgins
Michael Daniel Higgins is the president of theLabour Party and the party`s nominated candidate to contest the presidential election.
The 70 year old Limerick native first entered into Irish politics with Fianna Fàil before running for Labour in 1969. It wasn`t until 1981 that he first became a TD however he was a senator for two periods with the first beginning in 1973.
Derry native McGuinness who is currently the First Minister of Northern Ireland was chosen as Sinn Fèin`s presidential candidate in September.
McGuinness was a self confessed member of the Irish Republican Army during the 1970`s but has since gone on to play an influential role in the history of Northern Ireland.
Fine Gael candidate Gay Mitchell has been a Member of the European Parliament since 2004, having served as a TD for Dublin South Central from 1981-2007.
The former lord mayor of Dublin is a widely experienced politician and was beaten by current Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the Fine Gael leadership election of 2002.