Next Irish President Betting: McGuinness Leads Finlay in Latest Odds
Betting sites have reshuffled their markets for the next Irish president amid speculation a number of high-profile figures could run for the job in 2025.
Ireland chooses a new president every seven years and we’re still more than two years out from the next vote. The post is largely ceremonial, but it does offer an insight into the mood of the nation.
There have only ever been nine Irish presidents, of which five had secured a second term.
In 2025, Michael D Higgins will step down from the role he was first elected to back in 2011 - and a new candidate will take over.
Betting on Irish politics certainly has its benefits when it comes to maximising profits. The uncertainty surrounding recent general elections has made for opportunities to take advantage of a fluctuating market.
That’s the same when it comes to the Irish presidential election betting market. There is no certainty as to who will replace Higgins - so we’ve taken a look at the current frontrunners.
Next Irish President Betting
Remember, the next presidential election in Ireland isn’t scheduled until 2025, but that doesn’t mean the odds won’t change between now and then.
In fact, over the past year there have been some major changes to the odds. So much so that one of the lead candidates for the presidency - Labour leader Ivana Bacik (9/1) – is now not even in the top list of viable options.
Indeed, some big names are now jostling for position and rumours are afoot that two political heavyweights could soon enter the contest.
With two years to go before the vote, there’s plenty of time for the markets to rise and fall. Here, we look at the lead figures in the politics betting markets who could seek the Irish presidency in 2025.
Unchanged at the top of the markets is Mairead McGuinness, who is seen as the 4/1 favourite to secure the presidency.
McGuinness has served as the European Commissioner for Financial Stability for three years and has plenty of political clout across the EU.
The former MEP appears a popular choice among voters for her closeness to Europe - and this could come in handy with dealing with Brexit.
She may also prove pivotal in the development of the relationship between Ireland and Northern Ireland, amid the ongoing prospect of a united Ireland.
Whether McGuinness would swap her role at the EU for the Irish presidency remains to be seen. But the politician described as “unapologetically ambitious” will certainly keep her options open.
As a former head of the Bernardo’s charity, Fergus Finlay has plenty of admirers across the country. He was also mooted for a run in the 2018 Irish presidential election battle but Higgins’ intention to run again closed that door.
However, in 2018 Finlay did admit that he would always be tempted to go for the presidency, saying: “I would love to give it a go some day. I'd made up my mind a long time ago that I wouldn't oppose Michael D Higgins, but I didn't know what he was going to do.”
Finlay was a senior member of the Irish Labour Party but would probably run as an independent here, as most do.
His odds have drifted from 6/1 to 7/1 with political betting sites, which is probably a reflection of other candidates entering the market than Finley himself backing away from the presidency.
Fresh in at 8/1 with Boylesports is Bertie Ahern, Ireland’s former Taoiseach and a returning member of Fianna Fáil.
Ahern has endured his scandals in the past but appears keen to make one last stab at frontline politics.
His presence in this race would certainly shake it up, but there is already evidence that voters wouldn’t back Ahern in the 2025 Irish presidential election.
A poll in February found just 7% of voters would “definitely” choose the former Taoiseach for president. Remarkably, 51% said they would “definitely not” vote for him.
But the odds don’t always reflect the polls. An impressive 22.5% of all wagers on this market are backing Ahern for 2025.
That’s the biggest share of any single politician across the market. And it’s the reason his price has come in to 8/1 despite what the polls say.
Currently the European Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly’s first book was about the Irish presidency and Mary Robinson back in the early 1990s. She, like McGuinness, is close to the European project and her current term expires in 2024.
At 65, O’Reilly is probably open to one last big job before stepping away from frontline politics. And why not the Irish presidency?
Her odds have come in to 11/1 recently, having entered the market way out.
There isn’t a huge amount of chatter around O’Reilly right now but that could well change by next summer.
A veteran Labour figure, ex-TD Ruairi Quinn has not been in frontline politics since 2014. However, the energetic politician has not stopped despite being in his 70s.
Quinn stepped down from his role as chairperson of the Institute of International and European Affairs last year, and is seemingly mulling his next steps.
His odds haven’t changed from 11/1 since he departed the IIEA, but there will need to be some chatter here to get the markets to move in his favour.
At 66/1, it appears unlikely that Gerry Adams will be Irish president in 2025. However, bookmakers are keeping an eye on the ex-Sinn Féin president.
Adams would be a controversial choice and right now the Irish public appear uninterested in electing him.
A recent poll found 59% of voters wouldn’t back either Adams or Ahern for the Áras. In fact, the Business Post/Red poll found only 19% of voters would plump for Adams.
Of course, it’s unlikely that Conor McGregor would a) run for Irish president in 2025 and b) win the presidency in 2025.
However, that hasn’t prevented punters from sticking a sly punt on the UFC superstar.
McGregor may be priced at 500/1 with new betting sites, but 11.2% of all wagers on this market have backed him for the presidency. To put that into perspective, only ex-Taoiseach Ahern has more bets to his name.
Last year McGregor - who isn’t shy of wading into political issues - suggested he “may run for Áras an Uachtaráin”. He said he had “no issue” with Micheál Martin but wasn’t a fan of Leo Varadkar.
He added: “I am still too young to currently [be president]. But to sit and oversee this nonsense, at a closer view, in a position where a response must be given, is interesting to me.
“Why not? There is not a single iota of accountability here with these people. The people’s president. The politician’s principal.”
Best Of The Rest
Right now, betting apps aren’t sure which way the Irish presidency will go. This is good news for bettors because the odds are way bigger than what they would be if the candidates were confirmed.
It’s a bit like betting on horse racing in the ante-post markets - the odds are always bigger until the runners and riders are confirmed.
With that in mind, Boylesports have whipped up odds on a number of other candidates. These include both Miriam O’Callaghan and Eamon O’Cuiv at 12/1.
RTÉ presenter O’Callaghan sought the presidency in 2018, didn’t get it, and three years later said she wasn’t interested in running again. But could she change her mind? The bookies think it’s possible.
O’Cuiv was also mentioned as a viable presidential candidate in 2018, only for his own Fianna Fáil party to be split on the issue. However, he hasn’t been ruled out for 2025.
Sinn Féin MP John Finucane was once an 11/1 shot for the Irish presidency. While his odds have drifted to 14/1, it appears feasible that he could switch the British parliament for a punt at the Áras.
However, it would probably mean Finucane not running in the 2024 UK election, which would signal his intention for the Irish presidency, and therefore affect the odds.
Finally, presenter Ryan Tubridy is considered a 20/1 outside shot after Fianna Fail's Willie O’Dea said he’d welcome Tubridy into the party. Tubridy has stepped down from the Late Late Show and his prime time appeal could generate votes.
But the presidency is a different beast to live television, and the bookies aren’t ready to jump on him just yet.
Will Irish Diaspora Get A Vote?
All Irish citizens registered to vote in elections for the Dáil Éireann can vote for the president too.
But there have been efforts over the years to expand the franchise rights of Ireland’s non-resident population, particularly for the presidential election.
Proposals have come and gone, and the current bill to extend voting rights to the Irish diaspora doesn’t look like it will come to fruition any time soon.
Indeed, it appears as though a proposed referendum on the subject won’t even make it to the ballot until 2025.
Of the 27 EU member states, Ireland, Slovakia and Cyprus prevent overseas nationals from voting in their presidential elections. There is a campaign to change this, but it has made little progress.
It remains to be seen how extending voter rights for the presidential election would affect the outcome. But it’s a hot topic that won’t go away any time soon.
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