The Progressive Democrats are to consider allowing Senators and Councillors to become leader of the party.

A meeting of the party's National Executive last night considered a report on the leadership question drawn up by a group chaired by former Senator John Dardis.

It is understood it recommends opening the leadership to Senators and Councillors, and also simplifying structures by abolishing the post of Party President.

The proposals are to be further considered at the next monthly meeting of the Executive.

At present, only TDs are eligible for the post, but both current acting leader Mary Harney and the other PD Dáil Deputy, Noel Grealish, have indicated they do not wish to hold the post.

Senator Fiona O'Malley is widely seen as the leading contender for the party leadership, as she is the only Oireachtas member to express an interest in it.

Last night's meeting also considered a separate report on strategy for the party in the run up to the local elections in two years' time, which could show whether the party has a political future after its disastrous result last May.