Tuesday 22 August 2017

Norris's hopes hang with FF

Party's disarray over candidate throws senator a lifeline

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

INDEPENDENT Senator David Norris's chances of becoming a presidential candidate hang on Fianna Fail's divisive approach to the election.

But Mr Norris has still not made any approach to the party about helping him make up the 20 TDs and senators needed for a nomination. And there is no guarantee the party will give him any help either.

Mr Norris said yesterday he will talk to the party about his bid to be nominated. However, Fianna Fail's disarray in its stance on the presidency has thrown him a potential lifeline.

Mr Norris admitted yesterday he is not actually in the contest to become president as he doesn't have a nomination. He again refused to say how many Oireachtas members are actually committed to nominating him for the presidency.

"You're not in the race until you have the numbers. And that's the reality of it. And that's what I am working on. And I will work on that with the goodwill I am getting, I hope I get it," he said.

Thus far, Mr Norris only has the backing of seven TDs and senators. On his quest to get the support for a nomination, the senator said he is "watching the situation" and the work will start today. "I am hopeful. I am very hopeful. I am always a positive person," he said.

With less than 10 days left to secure a nomination, Mr Norris said he would talk to all TDs and senators.

Row

"Fianna Fail is democratically elected. Any person who is democratically elected has a right to nominate and I will talk to anybody," he said.

After a fractious row in Fianna Fail last week over the presidential nominations, party leader Micheal Martin wants to nominate nobody.

Mr Martin became exasperated after Fianna Fail Senator Labhras O Murchu sought the party nomination.

Ahead of a crunch meeting tomorrow to decide what the party will do with the nominations of its 33 TDs and senators, the party leader is understood to still want to rule out nominating anybody.

But Mr O Murchu still wants to run and has the support of some of his party colleagues, so the matter will again come to a head at tomorrow's meeting.

Fianna Fail deputy leader Eamon O Cuiv threatened to resign last week if the motion not to nominate anybody was passed.

Former Independent MEP and former presidential election candidate Dana Rosemary Scallon has also asked for the party's support.

Fianna Fail sources said members of the party are angry at efforts by the senator's supporters to suggest the party had offered to support him.

"Having lost the nominations of Independents and failed to get the backing of councils, and then having people briefing hasn't helped the situation," a source said.

Despite the entry of Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness, party insiders say there is no going back on the decision not to run a Fianna Fail candidate.

Irish Independent

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