Saturday 24 February 2018

Only seven Oireachtas members back Norris

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

INDEPENDENT Senator David Norris only has the backing of seven TDs and senators in his bid to secure a nomination for the presidency.

Mr Norris has been abandoned by many of the independent senators appointed by Taoiseach Enda Kenny to the Seanad who were facilitating his nomination.

Independent senators Mary-Louise O'Donnell, Mary-Ann O'Brien, Katherine Zappone and Fiach MacConghail are all staying silent on their intentions.

The four senators were among the Oireachtas members nominating Mr Norris before his dramatic withdrawal from the race last month.

Ms Zappone and Mr MacConghail specifically said they were backing Labour Party candidate Michael D Higgins, but were nominating Mr Norris in the interests of democracy.

However, the quartet of Independents did not respond to queries from the Irish Independent about their intentions. Ms O'Brien is in the USA but her spokesman said she had made no decision.

Ms O'Donnell, Ms Zappone and Mr MacConghail all failed to return calls.

Mr Norris still has the nominations of Independent TDs Maureen O'Sullivan and Mick Wallace and Senator John Crown.

United Left Alliance members Joe Higgins and Clare Daly of the Socialist Party and Richard Boyd-Barrett and Joan Collins of People Before Profit are available if he needs their nominations.

Independents Luke 'Ming' Flanagan and Stephen Donnelly are open to persuasion. Senator Sean Barrett declined to return calls to state his intentions.


But fellow independents Finian McGrath, Catherine Murphy, Thomas Pringle and John Halligan are all adamant they will not nominate the senator.

After three months in the race, by July Mr Norris had only gathered 15 of the 20 nominations from Oireachtas members that he required.

Mr Norris refused to say yesterday how many nominations he had secured. "All I can tell you, I'm happy," he said.

His supporters claimed this week the senator had 15 nominations gathered for his campaign.

Mr Norris will also be keeping a close eye on developments in Fianna Fail, which may free up a bunch of potential nominations.

Irish Independent

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