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Michael D Higgins plays down talk of Labour party split

The President of the Labour Party Michael D Higgins is playing down rumours of a spilt in the party as the leadership race heats up.

Deputy Higgins has said that he is backing Eamon Gilmore in his bid to replace Pat Rabbitte, who stepped down this week.

Speculation that a battle between 'old' and 'new' Labour is rife following reports former leader Ruairi Quinn will support a run by Brendan Howlin.

However, Mr Higgins said that the only priority now is to find a new leader.

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