The Tánaiste, Mary Harney, has said she would favour a change in the constitution that would make it easier for individuals to stand for the office of President.

However, she rejected claims from Dana Rosemary Scallon that the political establishment was obstructing the former MEP from standing.

Ms Harney said that while the Progressive Democrats were backing the candidacy of Mary McAleese, individual PD councillors were free to make their own decisions if other candidates sought support through local authorities.

President McAleese seeking second term

At a press conference at Áras an Uachtaráin this morning, President McAleese announced her intention to nominate herself for re-election.

Speaking at the conference, President McAleese said that the past seven years had been deeply fulfilling and that she had decided to seek re-election.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News At One programme, she said she would definitely serve a full term if returned to office and she would welcome having an election to decide the presidency.

Mrs McAleese said that she would stand as an independent candidate.

The Fine Gael Leader Enda Kenny said his party would not put forward a candidate in opposition to President McAleese's bid to hold office for a further seven years. The Fianna Fáil party has also pledged its support to her.

Meanwhile, the Green Party has agreed to endorse the candidacy of Deputy Eamon Ryan subject to the party's national executive council getting a report that sufficient funds are available for an election campaign.

The Labour Leader Pat Rabbitte has said he would like to see a Labour candidate for the presidency. However, he added that a number of factors would have to be taken into account.