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Micheál Martin will face further fire from some of his TDs and Senators at a meeting of Fianna Fáil's parliamentary party this morning. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Race for the Áras

Fianna Fáil prepares for divisive meeting on Áras tactics

Micheál Martin will today face further calls to allow TDs and Senators vote for whichever candidates they see fit.

FIANNA FÁIL LEADER Micheál Martin is this morning preparing for a divisive meeting of his parliamentary party, at which some TDs and Senators will ask him to allow them nominate candidates of their choosing for the Presidential election.

The meeting, beginning in Leinster House at 11am, will see Martin argue that the party’s policy of not running a formal candidate for the presidency would be undermined by allowing individual members to run if they saw fit.

Other senior members – including his deputy leader, Éamon Ó Cuív – are keen that the party should still be seen as taking some form of active role in the election.

They fear that if the party does not take an active stance, it could be overtaken by Sinn Féin as the most prominent opposition party in the eyes of the public, and risk losing voters with three years before their next trip to the ballot box.

One of the 33 members of Fianna Fáil’s parliamentary party, Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú, has already indicated his desire to run in the election – though insists he will stand as an independent candidate.

While Ó Murchú’s electoral fate will almost certainly be decided at the meeting – he will almost certainly fail to secure 20 nominations if he cannot nominate himself, or count on the support of fellow FF members – the meeting will also have a major impact on the hopes of other candidates.

Both Dana and David Norris will probably require the support of the Fianna Fáil members, given the dwinding numbers of independent TDs and Senators who have not already committed to a candidate.

Read: Ó Murchú admits presidential hopes hinge on Fianna Fáil decision

More: Dana: I’m running for President

In full:’s coverage of the Race for the Áras >

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