Eamon Ryan ‘regrets’ abandoning 2004 presidential race but rules out 2025 bid

Green Party leader dropped out when it became clear other candidates would not challenge Mary McAleese

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said he has regrets about pulling out of the 2004 presidential campaign as he ruled out seeking the office in the next election.

The environment minister had declared his interest in the role in 2004 before withdrawing the bid amid concerns about resourcing the campaign and obtaining the required number of nominations.

Incumbent president Mary McAleese was ultimately re-elected.

Mr Ryan told reporters he had some regrets about not proceeding in the 2004 race as it would have been an opportunity to explain the party’s green message.


However, he explained he became “terrified” when it became clear other potential candidates were not contesting Ms McAleese.

He said: “I did put my name forward at that time. For about a week I was running and I wasn’t going to be able to get the 20 signatories so I didn’t proceed with it – but I do regret that sometimes in some ways.

“At that election, my understanding at the time was it was going to be an election where Mary McAleese, Michael D [Higgins], Dana [Scallon] ... I threw my hat into that. I thought that would be interesting.

“For a variety of reasons in that week, it became clear that Michael D wouldn’t be running and Dana neither. So I was absolutely terrified, in truth. I said: ‘Oh god almighty’.

“But I kind of regret [not continuing] in a way because I thought that would have been a very interesting opportunity to explain our green message.

“In hindsight, I look back and think: ‘God, I wish I had just followed that through’, but it didn’t happen.”

Asked if he would be interested in seeking the Áras in the future, Mr Ryan said: “I don’t have that feeling now in terms of the upcoming election.

“I’m very conscious as well of family and other commitments I have.

“I have the highest regard for the office and wish whoever runs the very best of luck, but I won’t be running myself.” - PA