Ó Cuív canvass continues despite senior party doubts
Councillors from Galway have been ringing colleagues along the west coast in a bid to ramp up support for their Fianna Fáil colleague Éamon Ó Cuív as a potential presidential candidate.
But senior party colleagues said they were unconvinced by his candidature and insisted the decision by TDs and senators in late June not to field a candidate remained unchanged.
Despite this, Galway Fianna Fáil councillors have been telling their counterparts in neighbouring counties that Mr Ó Cuív is serious about standing. It is understood that if he gets council support, Mr Ó Cuív would use it as leverage to get the support of Fianna Fáil's national executive.
Sources said councillors were being told that the Galway West TD was "lying low and staying away from media for a day or two" to allow momentum to build. His team believes it can secure nominations in Galway, Clare and possibly Sligo or Leitrim and from there he could go on "to get five or more nominations".
"The message from his camp is that this is for real, although the money question could ultimately decide whether he actually runs," said a source.
Mr Ó Cuív (68) has been a TD for Galway West since 1992, and is a grandson of Fianna Fáil founder Éamon de Valera, who was president from 1959 until 1973.
But Fianna Fáil communications spokesman Timmy Dooley said the parliamentary party was the competent authority on presidential nominations. "So as far as I'm concerned, as far as the party is concerned, the matter is closed," the Clare TD said. He said Fianna Fáil councillors could make their own decisions - but if they nominated Mr Ó Cuív he would be an independent candidate.
Limerick TD Niall Collins told RTÉ he did not see talk of Mr Ó Cuív's nomination "going anywhere".