FF say Gay would be 'excellent' choice for President
Polls show former 'Late Late Show' host is preferred people's President
Published 07/08/2011 | 05:00
GAY Byrne is the new people's choice for President.
Last night a Fianna Fail spokesman said: "Gay Byrne would make an excellent candidate." He added that the party had yet to decide whether it would nominate its own candidate for the presidency or back an Independent candidate.
However, the Sunday Independent can reveal that factions within Fianna Fail are seriously interested in "facilitating" his race to the Park as an Independent candidate.
As a Sunday Independent/Quantum Research poll puts Gay Byrne at 34 per cent, way ahead of all the declared runners, there is a move within Fianna Fail to provide him with the 20 signatures needed for a nomination.
The former Late Late Show host said that if he was offered a nomination he would have to give "serious consideration" to it.
Asked by the Sunday Independent yesterday what he would do if the required 20 Oireachtas members came to him to nominate him for the presidency, he said: "I would have to consider it seriously . . . But I would have to consult with she who must be obeyed as well because any mention of presidency would mean a huge disruption of our lives."
It is known that when he was originally approached through an intermediary, Byrne, who is still making television programmes at the age of 77, was reluctant to put his name forward. But since the implosion of the Norris campaign he has emerged without any prompting as 'the people's champion'.
Of the declared political candidates Michael D Higgins of Labour is at 24 per cent while Gay Mitchell of Fine Gael polled 15 per cent.
Apart from the Sunday Independent/ Quantum Research result, Byrne swept the boards with 46 per cent of listeners backing him for President in a radio poll on 4FM last week.