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FF meet to finally sort their Aras bid

FIANNA Fail's chaotic handling of the presidential campaign was coming to a head today as members try to reach a decision.

The party's 33 TDs and senators are trying to strike an agreement on what to do with their nominations.

Party leader Micheal Martin was undermined last week when he had to withdraw his own proposal that they don't nominate any candidates.

An acrimonious six-hour meeting descended into farce when deputy leader Eamon O Cuiv threatened to resign.

A decision on whether to nominate Fianna Fail senator Labhras O Murchu as an Independent was being taken today.

Mr Martin's motion last week came after his botched approach to Gay Byrne, while popular party member Brian Crowley withdrew his name in frustration at the hierarchy.

Mr O Murchu was to make a last-ditch effort to allow a free vote at the meeting at Leinster House this morning, though his chances were looking slim.

If elected president, he will not draw a salary, he has said.

Meanwhile, Dana Rosemary Scallon has yet to identify the Oireachtas members who she says will back her Aras bid.

Dana is to formally ask TDs and senators to nominate her as an Independent candidate in the race to the Aras.

The former MEP will need the support of 20 Oireachtas members to enter the race.

She finished third in the 1997 election behind Mary McAleese.

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