Michael D Higgins has formally launched his campaign to win the Labour Party nomination to contest the Presidential election in October.

Mr Higgins will undertake a series of meetings next week in Galway, Dingle, Bandon and Dublin as part of a countrywide campaign.

In a statement today he said: 'I believe that, by selecting me as the party's candidate for the election, Labour can and will be successful in the Presidential elections.'

Mr Higgins described Labour's other declared candidate Fergus Finlay as 'formidable and able'.

However, he said the 'party will be best served by putting me forward'.

The former minister said it was time to move 'beyond the corrosive individualism of recent years', which he said had 'caused so much economic and social upheaval'.

Mr Higgins said if elected President he will act as patron of a specific series of Presidency Seminars, which would serve to stand back from the day-to-day dynamics of political and civic life.

He also said there is immense potential for the President of Ireland to play a role in developing the untapped linkages with leaders of our diaspora.