Finlay facing battle for presidential nod
Former adviser Fergus Finlay can expect fierce competition for the Labour Party's nomination for the presidential election next year.
Friends of former minister Michael D Higgins rallied to his cause yesterday after Mr Finlay declared his interest in getting the nod.
Although he remained silent yesterday, supporters insisted that the Galway-based former minister would be a contender.
"Michael D is the living embodiment of the spirit and ethos of the Labour Party," said a supporter.
Allies of the Galway West TD also corrected a report yesterday that said Mr Higgins was ill last year following surgery.
"It is some years since Michael D had the procedure and he has never been more energetic or ready for a challenge," said a friend.
Delegates at the party's conference in Galway were surprised by Mr Finlay's answer when asked if he was seeking the party's nomination.
"My gut says yes, but I'm not sure how to express that eloquently," said Mr Finlay. "I'd be very tempted to have a go at something like that."
Mr Finlay couldn't be reached yesterday but senior members of the party knew about his interest in the presidency for some time.
He began working with the Labour Party as a press officer in the 1980s and was and adviser to Dick Spring from 1983 until 1997.
He was particularly proud of the work he did on the successful divorce referendum in 1996.
Earlier he played key roles in the election of the Labour Party's candidate Mary Robinson as president in 1990 and doubling their seats to 33 in the 1992 general election.