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Avril Doyle rules herself out of Presidential race

Former MEP says she is a “realist” and late to the race and “unlikely” to secure the Fine Gael nomination for Aras run.

Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

FORMER TD AND MEP Avril Doyle has decided to withdraw her application to run as Fine Gael’s candidate in the Presidential election.

In a statement, she said that it was “in the best interest of the Fine Gael party” that she pull out. This would allow the Fine Gael selection convention on Saturday to focus on the three other Fine Gael potential contenders for the Aras. These are Pat Cox, Mairead McGuinness and Gay Mitchell.

She said this lunchtime:

Having come into the race late, and being a realist, I now realise that I am unlikely to secure the nomination, not withstanding the fact that I retain the support of a sizeable number of the Parliamentary Party, the National Executive and Councillors nationwide.

I am not going to disadvantage any of the three remaining candidates by endorsing one in particular. The candidate of choice will have my full support.

To my many loyal supporters and friends in the Parliamentary Party, among the Councillors, the National Executive and to my dedicated campaign team, my sincere thanks for all of their encouragement and commitment.

Former MEP Pat Cox joined Fine Gael in June to strengthen his chance of becoming their candidate. In a Sunday Independent/Quantum research poll at the weekend, he had a lead on McGuinness and Mitchell. Former Taoiseach John Bruton has been a high-profile supporter of Gay Mitchell to become Fine Gael’s candidate. A poll by Millward Brown Lansdowne for the Irish Independent on 23 June had Mairead McGuinness leading Cox, Mitchell and Doyle in the overall race for the Aras.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael party chairman Charlie Flanagan has been declared director of the party’s presidential campaign.

Niall O’Dowd withdraws as presidential candidate>

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