It has been confirmed that Independent Presidential candidate, Peter Casey, is back in the race for Áras an Uachtaráin.

A spokeswoman said he would be meeting his campaign team tomorrow to decide on their strategy for the final week.

Writing in the Sunday Independent, Mr Casey said that he took the decision to continue to contest the election after being inundated with messages of support.

He also said he would campaign on his belief that Ireland is a "welfare-dependent state" which has led to a "sense of entitlement that's become unaffordable".

An opinion poll in today’s Sunday Business Post suggests Mr Casey is on 2% support.

Mr Casey took the decision to suspend his campaign last Friday, after he became engulfed in controversy over critical statements about the Travelling Community.

The other five candidates described the comments as abhorrent and disgusting.

Mr Casey has refused to withdraw those comments.

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In an open letter this afternoon, Mr Casey said he had been "troubled" over the last few days.

Mr Casey said he shaken by the controversy that followed his comments about the travelling community.

He said he received "literally thousands" of messages of support encouraging him to stay in the race.

He said to receive such support made him "more determined than ever to remain in the race".

Mr Casey addressed his comments on the travelling community, saying he viewed them as Irish.

"They live in our country, go to our schools, and vote in our elections," he said.

He added: "I believe, if we all accepted them more as ‘Irish’, we would do so much more to remedy their longstanding problems, like chronic unemployment, homelessness, and a suicide rate that is six times the national average.

"I respect the Travelers' culture and traditions, but I will always think them first and foremost as ‘Irish’ too."

"If that is wrong, I am not apologising," he said.