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McGrath talking to possible Áras candidates as SF considers entering race

The independents in the Dáil will meet to discuss the presidential race on Friday as Sinn Féin expects to make a decision in the coming weeks.

Finian McGrath (File photo)
Finian McGrath (File photo)
Image: Barry Cronin/PA Archive/Press Association Images

INDEPENDENT TD FINIAN McGrath has revealed that he is talking to a number of possible candidates which the Dáil group of independents could back for the presidential election next month.

Independent TDs in the Dáil will hold their own think-in this Friday ahead of the resumption of the Dáil next week where the issue of who to back for the presidential election is likely to be discussed.

McGrath, TD for Dublin North Central, told TheJournal.ie today that he will not made a decision on who he is backing until after the think-in but revealed that he is talking to “a number of possible candidates.”

He said that his colleagues “could turn up with top class candidates” who they have been speaking to in recent weeks but insisted that all would become clearer after Friday’s meeting.

TheJournal.ie understands that McGrath will be meeting with one possible candidate tomorrow.

Fellow independent John Halligan, TD for Waterford, said today that “nobody has come into the reckoning” in recent weeks, echoing comments he made last month in relation to the presidential race.

Elsewhere, Noel Grealish, independent TD for Galway West , said he had not yet made a decision but revealed he that he was “impressed” by independent presidential candidate and former Special Olympics CEO Mary Davis having recently met with her.

Sinn Féin

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin’s finance spokesperson today came out in favour of the party running a candidate for the election.

Pearse Doherty told RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland that “there has been a debate going on within the party” and added that he was conscious the next president would represent Ireland during the centenary of the 1916 rising.

Sinn Féin is due to make a decision on whether or not to run a candidate after its Ard Fheis which will be held in Belfast this weekend.

Mary Lou McDonald, the Dublin Central TD, and Michelle Gildernew, a Sinn Féin MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone have been mentioned as possible candidates.  Neither could be reached for comment at the time of publication.

The party would need three more members of the Dáil or Seanad to back a possible candidate as it has only 17 Oireachtas members out of the 20 it needs to secure a place on the ballot paper for the 27 October vote.

A number of other independent TDs contacted for comment on the presidential race did not return calls at the time of publication.

Read more on the Race for the Áras >

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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