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FG's Hayes backs Higgins of Labour for presidency

Fine Gael TD for Dublin South-West publicly backs Labour’s Michael D for presidency.

Michael D Higgins with then-Labour leader Pat Rabbitte, speaking outside Leinster House, after the Labour Party decided not to put him forward as a candidate for the Irish Presidency in 2007
Michael D Higgins with then-Labour leader Pat Rabbitte, speaking outside Leinster House, after the Labour Party decided not to put him forward as a candidate for the Irish Presidency in 2007
Image: Haydn West/PA Archive/Press Association Images

BRIAN HAYES OF Fine Gael has publicly backed Labour’s Michael D Higgins for the presidency.

Hayes, the former Fine Gael education spokesperson who backed Riichard Bruton in the summer’s leadership heave, has unexpectedly backed the Labour Party president to become president of the country.

Hayes told the Sunday Tribune that a candidate who could unify political support would be good for Ireland. “I think an agreed candidate would be good for the country” the TD for Dublin South West said.

“From all the candidates I have seen so far, I think that Michael D Higgins would do a good job and he is generally respected in the Houses of the Oireachtas as he is an outstanding parliamentarian.”

The Fine Gael nomination for the presidency is being sought by Mairéad McGuiness and Séan Kelly. Hayes said he would support a candidate like Gay Mitchell or John Bruton if they were to run.

“We need a candidate who has a standing across the parties and who has a lot of experience. One term or two term politicians don’t fall into this category” stated Hayes.

“I think that Michael D has that [stature] and he has the experience of the Dáil, the Seanad and the cabinet which will be a help to him if he is either nominated or elected to the role of president.”

In the midweek TV3/Millward Brown poll, Higgins was at 8% support, tied with Fergus Finlay on second behind the  frontrunner David Norris oin 20%.

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