Wednesday 22 November 2017

'FG wanted me to run against Lenihan for presidency'

John Spain Books Editor

BILL O'Herlihy reveals in his autobiography that he was once asked to run for the presidency, but turned the chance down.

The RTE presenter says in his memoir that Joan FitzGerald, wife of Garret, asked him if he would run for president in the 1990 election.

She said I was "the only Fine Gael person she believed would defeat Brian Lenihan".

"Fine Gael had no viable, interested candidate . . . and Joan came to me on the basis that she felt nobody else in the party would have been good enough to win."

In the event, Lenihan imploded over the Aras phone call controversy, Austin Currie ran for Fine Gael and did badly, and Mary Robinson won.

"What authority Joan had to ask me was another matter," O'Herlihy writes.

He told her he was "very flattered to be asked", but "did not think he would be elected".

O'Herily also reveals he was approached by Fianna Fail to run for the Dail in his native Cork in the early 1970s.

O'Herlihy, who was living in Dublin at the time, turned it down because he says he knew that "anyone who understands Cork would know if you don't live there you can shag off".

He gives the example of RTE presenter Liam O Murchu who ran for FF in Cork while living in Dublin and lost his deposit.

l 'We'll Leave It There So', by Bill O'Herlihy, is published by Paperweight Publications and retails for €14.99.

Irish Independent

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