Seán Gallagher has written to the mayor or chairperson of all local authorities seeking that they schedule meetings to discuss nominations of presidential candidates.

Mr Gallagher contested the 2011 Presidential Election and came second behind Michael D Higgins.

A source closely involved with Mr Gallagher's campaign seven years ago said he believes he would play a significant role in this campaign whether he is a candidate or not.

On Twitter, Mr Gallagher said: "It is vital for everyone in public life to facilitate the process by which more candidates are encouraged to come forward to more fully reflect the diverse and changing Ireland we now live in."

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In his letter to public representatives, he said "it is an important constitutional function" for them to exercise their right to nominate a presidential election candidate "in the interest of democracy and the widest electoral choice possible".

He added: "To provide sufficient time for this to happen, I would appeal to you directly, to give consideration to formally scheduling an agenda item for your September meeting to facilitate the members of the Council giving due consideration to candidates seeking a nomination."

He pointed out that councillors on 26 local authorities exercised this option to nominate a candidate during the 2011 Presidential election.

The unsuccessful 2011 candidate said: "Ensuring that councils have the opportunity to exercise their right to nominate candidates is important in providing a fair playing field for all potential candidates and in ensuring that the office of President of Ireland is not be dictated by the narrow interests of political parties acting to prevent a democratic contest."

He said that it now rests fully with the elected members of every local authority to ensure that "the election to the highest office in the land is not stymied by any individual, group or political party".

Mr Gallagher came second in the 2011 Presidential election with 504,964 votes or a 28.5% share of the vote, some 200,000 first preference votes behind Michael D Higgins, who won 701,101 first preference votes or a 39% share of the vote.

Last December, RTÉ apologised to the businessman and paid him "substantial damages" in a settlement over a tweet read out on a live televised debate during the campaign.

Mr Gallagher began legal proceedings in 2013, seeking a declaration that the RTÉ Frontline programme involving the election candidates was deliberately and unfairly edited, presented and directed by RTÉ to damage his electoral prospects.