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Sinn Fein should nominate Norris

I see the Red C/Paddy Power opinion poll shows Senator David Norris to be the most popular choice for president ahead of Mairead McGuinness, Bertie Ahern, Fergus Finlay and Michael D Higgins.

His difficulty is going to be in securing a constitutional nomination to run in the election, as this requires the support of 20 members of the Oireachtas, or four county or city councils. Up until now, this has meant that only Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and (sometimes) Labour have had the wherewithal to nominate a candidate, and they generally use this opportunity to nominate one of their own.

However, Mary Robinson was technically an independent when nominated by Labour as she had resigned from the party over the Anglo-Irish Agreement and so there is a precedent for a party nominating a non-member.

Would this not be a glorious opportunity for Sinn Fein and others to demonstrate their non-sectarian and non-discriminatory credentials by nominating an independent, Church of Ireland, and openly gay campaigner to run in the election?

Opinion polls show Sinn Fein and a variety of independents and smaller parties to be in line to achieve significantly more than 20 seats after the next General Election.

How much more likely would they be to reach that target if they were to announce, in advance, their intention to nominate Mr Norris -- the most popular, independent, and widely respected potential candidate -- for the presidential election?

It is time we broke the stranglehold of the established parties on our political processes and appointments. The electorate deserve a wider choice, and at the moment that choice is most likely to be Mr Norris should he be given the opportunity to stand.

Frank Schnittger

Blessington, Co Wicklow