Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness is to run for the office of President of Ireland, his party has confirmed.
The former IRA leader and current Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland will be formally endorsed by his party leadership over the weekend.
The announcement is already being billed as the republican movement's most audacious act since IRA prisoner Bobby Sands stood as an MP.
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams confirmed that the party's Ard Chomhairle is to meet on Sunday morning to discuss a proposal from the National Officer Board to nominate a candidate to stand in the presidential election.
He said: "The officer board will recommend that the candidate will be Martin McGuinness.
"Sinn Fein believes that the office of Uachtaran na hEireann has been made more relevant by Mary Robinson and by President Mary McAleese.
"This is a time of great challenge for all the people of Ireland. We need positive but authentic leadership.
"It will be a great honour for me to propose Martin McGuinness to contest this election on a broad, republican, citizen-centred platform."
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