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Tanaiste criticises 'blocking' of non-party candidates

TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore says political parties should not "block" Independents from running for the Presidency -- a comment that will be seen as a swipe at Fine Gael.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny's party has ordered its councillors not to assist Independents, such as Senator David Norris, in securing a nomination for the presidential election.

The diktat has made it more difficult for Independents to get the required support of councils to get on the ticket.

Despite Independent candidates potentially being a threat to Labour Party candidate Michael D Higgins, the party has left its councillors with a free hand to decide what to do when Independents come knocking.

In an interview with the Irish Independent, Mr Gilmore says his party has "gone further" to facilitate Independents seeking a nomination.

"We have actually informed our councillors that the Labour Party will not -- and that councillors should understand that we are not asking them to -- block the nomination of Independent candidates," he said.

"We have no difficulty with that. The presidential election is one that I think citizens want to have their own view on. I think political parties are privileged in that we can make a nomination, but we should not use our position as political parties to block the nominations of others," he added.

Mr Gilmore denied this was a criticism of any other party.

"No, it's not. It's the stated view of the Labour Party," he said.

Irish Independent