Thursday 23 November 2017

Finlay to weigh up odds of Labour bid for Aras

Sam Smyth

AN adviser who helped plan the Labour Party's greatest electoral successes may seek to run as their presidential candidate in next year's election.

Fergus Finlay, an adviser to former Tanaiste Dick Spring and now chief executive of Barnardos, is hotly tipped to seek a nomination as the party's presidential candidate.

"I'd be very tempted to have a go at something like that," said Mr Finlay last night.

"My gut says 'yes' but I'm not 100pc sure how to express that eloquently."

Earlier yesterday a senior figure in the party said he was quite sure that Mr Finlay would be seeking the nomination from the Labour Party.

Stories about Mr Finlay running have been circulating for some time.

"I would like the presidential election to be part of a discussion about the values we hold and where we would like our country to go," he said.

Last year Paddy Power bookmakers put Mr Finlay third favourite for the Presidential election behind Bertie Ahern and Fianna Fail's Brian Crowley.

Mr Finlay was a key strategist in the 1990 presidential election won by Mary Robinson and in the General Election in 1992 where Labour doubled its Dail seats to a record 33.

Party leader Eamon Gilmore confirmed this week that the party's national executive had discussed running a presidential candidate but he added they hadn't yet considered any candidates.

Galway West TD Michael D Higgins is held in great affection by the party and would be the first choice of many members if he wanted to run for President.

However, Mr Higgins suffered a serious illness and underwent surgery last year which could be a drawback for him seeking a seven-- year term in Aras an Uachtarain.

Independent Senator David Norris, who is also seeking a Presidential nomination, would like the backing of the Labour Party.

However Senator Norris, who is currently in Cyprus, could not be reached for comment.

Irish Independent

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