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Martin shoots down Ahern's Aras election bid

FIANNA Fail's leadership last night began distancing itself from former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern ahead of the Mahon Tribunal report's publication.

Mr Ahern's ambitions to become President were shot down by party leader Micheal Martin.

But Mr Martin is still not saying if his party intends to run a candidate for the presidency.

Senior party figures were thought to be nervous about the forthcoming Tribunal report and what it may conclude about Mr Ahern's finances.

After months of speculation over the possibility of Mr Ahern being the party's candidate in November's election, Mr Martin firmly ruled it out yesterday.

Going further than any previous statement on the matter, Mr Martin said Mr Ahern would not be a candidate.

"I don't think that's something that's on the agenda at all," he said on RTE's 'News At One'.

Mr Ahern indicated last year that he was interested in running for the Presidency. But he said he had not discussed the issue with anybody.

"I talked to nobody about it and I'm not likely to do so in the short term," he said.

Fianna Fail has yet to say if it intends to run a candidate in the Presidential election. Given the party's dismal performance in the 2011 General Election, a Fianna Fail candidate would have an uphill struggle to win.

Fianna Fail MEP Brian Crowley is still the most likely candidate if the party does contest the election. Mr Martin made supportive comments about Mr Crowley yesterday.

Irish Independent