Belfast Telegraph

Party chiefs oppose president bid

Fianna Fail TDs and Senators are to be urged not to run an internal party candidate in the presidential election.

A special committee comprised of leader Micheal Martin, deputy Eamon O'Cuiv and four other senior members met for under two hours in Leinster House to discuss the party's position on the race.

Party sources said five opted against running a contender from the rank and file, while Mr O'Cuiv, who has been touted as a potential candidate, was the only one in favour.

The recommendation will be put to the 36-member parliamentary party when it meets on Wednesday afternoon.

Mr Martin and Mr O'Cuiv have been at odds over the party's presidency stance, with the latter stating the party should run an internal contender.

But MEP Brian Crowley's acrimonious decision not to contest the race last week and Mr Martin's high-profile approach to broadcaster Gay Byrne suggested the party chief wanted a candidate not linked with Fianna Fail.

One senior party source had suggested there was little appetite within the parliamentary party to contest the presidency.

A Fianna Fail spokeswoman said the committee met to discuss the party's strategy.

"The committee will put the recommendations for the race to the parliamentary party on Wednesday," she said.

The sub-committee was made up of Mr Martin, Mr O'Cuiv, Timmy Dooley, Dara Calleary, Sean O Fearghail and Senator Daragh O'Brien.

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