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Norris and Davis to address independent TDs and Senators

The meeting of the technical group is the clearest hint yet that David Norris hasn’t ruled out re-entering the presidential race.

Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

INDEPENDENT TDS AND SENATORS will this afternoon be canvassed by two people who may be Ireland’s next president – in the clearest indication yet that David Norris is contemplating re-entry to the presidential election.

Norris and Mary Davis – who is already assured of her place on the ballot paper – are both to attend a meeting of independent TDs and senators in Leinster House this afternoon, where they will pitch for the support of individual members.

While Davis does not need the support of the Oireachtas members to clinch her nomination, having clinched her spot on the ballot paper last Monday, the appearance of Norris at the meeting is an evident sign that the senator is still sounding out a potential return to the presidential race.

Finian McGrath, who has arranged the meeting, said attendees would not be acting en masse and would still act freely in nominating candidates of their choice.

“Essentially we’re meeting Mary Davis, and Senator David Norris, who are going to address a group of independent senators and TDs,” he said this morning.

“Each candidate will have fifteen minutes to speak to the group,” he said, after which members would decide individually on whether they wanted to nominate or support either of the two.

McGrath also revealed that Trócaire’s chief executive Justin Kilcullen, who had previously been approached by the group to sound out his interests, last night withdrew his interest in the position.

Dana Rosemary Scallon, who has already secured the backing of independent TD Mattie McGrath, was due to attend today’s meeting too but is abroad and has sent her apologies.

Norris had enjoyed the support of 12 members of the Oireachtas before withdrawing from the race amid controversy over his pleas for clemency in the case of his former partner, who was awaiting sentencing for the statutory rape of a 15-year-old in Israel at the time.

Assuming those 12 are all willing to still support him, Norris would be back at 15 signatures, after three of the five members of the United Left Alliance told the Sunday Independent they would nominate him.

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Norris is expected to make a public disclosure about whether he will re-enter the race on Friday’s Late Late Show. He is due to attend a photocall tomorrow with organisers of the ‘We Want Norris’ campaign, who will present him with a petition of 10,000 signatures seeking his re-entry.

This morning’s Irish Daily Mail reports that Fianna Fáil senator Labhras Ó Murchú, who is the president of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Éireann, is also contemplating running as an independent candidate.

Candidates have just under a fortnight to lodge their nomination papers.

More: Davis will not follow Gallagher’s lead of asking councils to drop support >

Read: FF blocks members from one-off Norris support >

More: Adams wants Sinn Féin to support candidate for Áras >

In full: TheJournal.ie’s coverage of the race for the Áras >

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Gavan Reilly

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