Sinn Féin has announced it is to contest the Presidential election, following a meeting of the party's Ard Comhairle.

A committee has been put in place to oversee the selection of a candidate. The committee will be chaired by Waterford TD David Cullinane.

Party leader Mary Lou McDonald had already given a strong indication that the party would put forward a candidate. 

Earlier this week, President Michael D Higgins announced that he is seeking to serve a second term in Áras an Uachtarain.

The Sinn Féin decision ensures he will need to win an election in order to do so.

At the recent Sinn Féin Ard Fheis, a motion was passed calling for the party to run a candidate for the position. 

However the final decision on the matter fell to the Ard Comhairle.

In a statement this afternoon, Ms McDonald said citizens under the age of 25 have never noted in a Presidential election, and should not have to wait until the age of 32 to have such an opportunity.

She added that the party "believe that there is an appetite for political and social change."

Ms McDonald also commended Mr Higgins on how he represented Ireland during his term in office, saying he is a President that Ireland can be proud of.

The selection committee will report back within ten days and the Ard Chomhairle will meet at a later date to decide on the candidate.

Ms McDonald could not say when they will formally select the candidate. 

Separately, a number of Independent senators - Joan Freeman, Gerard Craughwell and Pádraig Ó Céidigh - and artist Kevin Sharkey have expressed an interest in running for the office. 

Meanwhile, the homes of two prominent party members - Gerry Adams and Bobby Storey - were attacked with explosive devices overnight, the party has said.

No one was injured in either incident.