FIANNA FÁIL WILL not be supporting any presidential candidate in the forthcoming election it has been decided at a meeting of the parliamentary party this morning.
The move puts in doubt the presidential hopes of former MEP Dana Rosemary Scallon and senator David Norris who would more than likely have needed the backing of Fianna Fáil members in order to be on the ballot paper.
At a meeting held at Leinster House this morning a motion not to contest the presidential election and not to nominate or endorse a candidate was adopted by the parliamentary party by “popular consensus” according to party whip Seán Ó Fearghaíl.
Earlier, Fianna Fáil senator Labhrás Ó Murchú withdrew his name as a prospective candidate having earlier sought the support of some Fianna Fáil party members in order to be on the ballot paper as an independent candidate.
This latest development came off the back of Fianna Fáil’s decision in August to not run its own internal candidate for the election, an issue which divided the party with some members, including deputy leader Éamon Ó Cuív, keen that it take an active role in the election.
However, it is leader Micheál Martin’s view that the party would be better off not contesting this contest, given its result in the general election in February, nor taking an active role. This would be in order to rebuild the party ahead of the local and European elections in 2014.
The move puts the presidential hopes of both Scallon and Norris in considerable doubt.
At a press conference yesterday, Scallon acknowledged she would need the support of some members of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party in order to be on the ballot paper as an independent candidate.
Her campaign would not immediately comment on the latest development.
Senator David Norris had hoped to re-enter the race having withdrawn in August over controversy surrounding his former partner Ezra Nawi but he faces an uphill task to secure sufficient support from independents in the Oireachtas in order to run as an independent candidate.
TheJournal.ie understands that Norris has at present eight definite signature of the 20 he needs in order to be on the ballot paper.
Nominations close on 28 September.