Tuesday 12 December 2017

Norris's backers attempt to refloat Aras bid

Fionnan Sheahan, Fiach Kelly and  Ralph Riegel

SUPPORTERS of Independent Senator David Norris are contacting TDs and senators to suss out the possibility of him getting a nomination to run for the presidency.

And Fianna Fail senator Labhras O Murchu is also at the centre of speculation about entering the contest as a surprise Independent candidate.

Mr Norris steps back into the public spotlight today when he returns to the Seanad for the first time since his dramatic withdrawal from the presidential race.

The momentum behind Mr Norris's restarting his campaign has trailed off since the weekend.

However, Fianna Fail and Independent sources confirmed contact on the senator's behalf to assess the prospects of him receiving their support for a nomination.

The senator needs the 20 TDs and senators to sign his nomination papers.

Mr Norris's supporters feel the senator could still have similar levels of support for a nomination to when he dropped out of the race.

"Some of them are pretty lukewarm and are dependent on the reception he gets on 'The Late Late Show'. They are all sceptical as to whether it is real. We're making approaches. We're just sounding out to see if it's worth his while getting back," a source said.

Mr O Murchu is also understood to have been encouraged to run in the election.

The 72-year-old is the long-serving director general of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann. Some within the party would see him as having the potential to attract an old-style Republican, Fianna Fail, Irish-speaking vote, which would otherwise go to Sinn Fein.

Also yesterday, a Fianna Fail councillor joined the presidential election campaign of Independent candidate Sean Gallagher.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin urged elected members not to get directly involved in the presidential campaign once the party opted not to run its own candidate.

But Cork City Council member Kenneth O'Flynn, the son of outspoken former TD Noel O'Flynn, confirmed he had joined the campaign team for Mr Gallagher.

The councillor's move came just a fortnight after his father launched a blistering attack on Mr Martin and his leadership of Fianna Fail.

Mr O'Flynn proposed Mr Gallagher's nomination as a presidential challenger to the Cork local authority last Monday night. "I will be taking over Cork North Central as campaign manager for this area. We are all systems go from now on," he said.

Irish Independent

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