Dublin MEP and former junior minister Gay Mitchell has been selected as Fine Gael's candidate to contest the upcoming presidential election.

Speaking to delegates ahead of the vote at the party's convention in Dublin, Mr Mitchell said he had the 'heart and the history' to make the historic breakthrough in electing a Fine Gael president.

He said he did not appeal to one class, but to all those who were striving to cope in society.

The other candidates in contention were MEP for the East constituency Mairead McGuinness and the former PD and Independent TD and MEP, Pat Cox, a recent recruit to the party.

Mr Cox told the gathering that he was best placed to win the presidency for Fine Gael.

Referring to his time as President of the European Parliament, Mr Cox said Europe was key to our recovery and he knew it intimately at its highest levels.

Mairead McGuinness spoke of her electoral record and stressed her record in the European Parliament.

Ms McGuinness said her determination to succeed for the party was unquestioned.

Arriving for the convention, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the next presidency of the Republic Ireland will be 'the most crucial since the foundation of the State'.

And Mr Kenny said whoever the Fine Gael candidate is will have a 'decent chance' of winning.