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'I don't see it going anywhere': Fianna Fáil TD dismisses prospect of Éamon Ó Cúiv running for president

A letter sent to councillors across the country calling for support for Ó Cúiv to be the next president of Ireland.

A FIANNA FÁIL TD has dismissed the suggestion that his party colleague Éamon Ó Cúiv may run for president.

It emerged yesterday that a letter calling for support for Ó Cúiv to be the next president of Ireland had been sent to councillors across the country.

The letter was sent by Galway Councillor Ollie Crowe who said the TD would make an “outstanding candidate”. He said he had told Ó Cúiv about his plan to sent out the letter, but the TD west Galway TD has yet to publicly comment on it himself.

Party leader Micheál Martin confirmed last month that the party will support President Michael D Higgins’ candidacy. Fianna Fáil councillors were also asked by the party not to facilitate the nomination of any challenger to the incumbent.

In his letter to councillors, Crowe said “sitting on the sidelines is simply not a suitable or appropriate option, our party’s role is to run in political races not turn away from them”.

“The lack of consultation with representatives and members of the party in making this decision was an error but it is not one we need to live with.”

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today, Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins said the position of the party has been “very clear” and that members of the parliamentary party had been given a chance at their meeting last month to make their views known.

“I don’t really see this going anywhere to tell you the truth,” he said.

Éamon Ó Cúiv, from my own point of view, is a very straight up, stand up type of guy and if he were interested in running for the presidency, he would have said it at the time when it was discussed at our parliamentary party [meeting].

He said he had spoken to councillors in his constituency and they were not “queuing up to me to say we should have a presidential candidate”.

“I don’t think he will be running,” he said.

While Collins dismissed the suggestion of a party candidate, Fianna Fáil senator Mark Daly told Miriam O’Callaghan on RTÉ today that the party should have ran a candidate of its own. He stated that he had toyed with the idea of running, but only if the party had decided to put forward a candidate.

It’s understood that earlier this morning, a text message was sent to all members of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party stating:

‘The only body with the authority and ability to nominate a Fianna Fáil candidate for the presidential election is the Parliamentary Party. The Parliamentary Party has made a decision with regard to this matter.”

Sources within Fianna Fáil have criticised the way in which the decision to back Higgins was made with one politician telling that it was not the agenda for discussion at the parliamentary party meeting on the night in question.

“When the powers that be saw a poor turnout at parliamentary party meeting only 22 they were opportunistic and brought the topic up for discussion.”

Yesterday, Councillor Crowe said the party’s leadership was out of touch with its own membership.

With additional reporting by Christina Finn

Waterford County Council is due to address the topic at its meeting later today – follow our reporter Paul Hosford for updates. 

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