Independent presidential candidate Peter Casey has said he is not racist and would not like to be elected on a platform of support arising from his controversial comments on the Travelling community.

It comes as Mr Casey said he would take the weekend to consider if he will continue in the race for the Áras.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, Mr Casey said he would make a decision on Monday about whether or not to continue his campaign after talking to his family and advisers.

He said he would not wish to be "elected on this platform". He said he had been accused of being racist but "this is not what his campaign is about".

Fellow Independent candidate Gavin Duffy said that Mr Peter Casey should be given the time to reflect on his position this weekend.

Speaking on RTÉ's Six One News, Mr Duffy said he would like to see Mr Casey's comments about Travellers withdrawn, because of the offence caused to the Travelling community.

Mr Casey's controversial comments were made earlier this week.

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A number of families are refusing to move into homes at the €1.7m Cabragh Bridge development because of a dispute with Tipperary County Council.

Mr Casey has claimed this is because the families are demanding that the council provide stables for their horses, something he described as "blackmail".

On the 'Floating Voter' Podcast on the website earlier this week, Mr Casey claimed that the State's recognition of the Travelling community as an ethnic minority was "a load of nonsense".

He also described Travellers as "basically people that are camping on someone else's land" and asserted that they were "not paying their fair share of taxes in society".

Yesterday, Mr Casey visited Cabragh Bridge, saying he wanted to highlight the fact that there are people homeless in Dublin while the six houses in Thurles are empty.

He left Cabragh Bridge without speaking to members of the Travelling community nearby. There was a large garda presence in the area during the visit.

Today, Mr Casey said had not been aware that Travellers had been given special status as an ethnic minority and was "surprised beyond belief" at the reaction to his comments.

He said he was pointing out the absurdity "of these amazing houses sitting there empty" while people looked for lands for their horses.

He said he was so "conscious of bigotry" having grown up in Co Derry and "did not have a racist bone in his body".

Mr Casey said if he had known it was going to go this way he would not have run.

"I do not want the people of Ireland to elect me as President of Ireland just based on one statement I made."

Mr Casey announced he was considering withdrawing from the presidential race in a statement this morning.

Speaking this afternoon, he said if he stepped down he would ask people not to vote for him, adding that Joan Freeman would be his preferred choice of the other candidates.

He said he wanted to be of service and make a real difference.

"I have the expertise and ability to be an influencer. I want to connect people, at home and abroad.

"I know that my world experience and global views will make me a uniquely suitable candidate for president of Ireland - with drive, ability and energy," he said.

Mr Casey's name will be on the Presidential Election ballot paper, even if he should decide to withdraw from the race. 

A spokesman from the Department of Local Government said that the last date for removing a candidate's name from the ballot paper was 26 September.