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Éamon Ó Cuív reportedly threatened to quit as Deputy Leader over disputes about the party's policy for the presidential election - but denies he will set up a new breakaway party. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Fianna Fáil

Ó Cuív dismisses rumour of potential split in Fianna Fáil

FF’s Deputy Leader says discussion of a potential breakaway party, based on comments given to TV3, is mere “spin”.

ÉAMON Ó CUÍV has dismissed speculation that he may create a breakaway party from Fianna Fáil, as the row over whether the party should field a Presidential candidate deepens.

Ó Cuív will today meet party leader Micheál Martin to discuss their differing opinions on the matter, ahead of a parliamentary party meeting tomorrow.

While Martin was known to oppose the idea of Fianna Fáil fielding a formal candidate, he is also thought to have tried to block TDs and Senators from nominating ‘external’ candidates too.

Ó Cuív, however, was in favour of the party entering a candidate in next month’s election, and is reported to have threatened to resign as deputy leader over the deepening divide within the Fianna Fáil parliamentary ranks.

Speculation about a split in the party increased over the weekend, when it emerged that Ó Cuív had told a TV3 documentary of the need to shed the party’s previous image.

This morning, however, Ó Cuív said the remarks had been taken out of context by newspaper reports – and that he was merely pointing out the need for the party to disassociate itself with certain industries.

“What I said was, we’re going to be damned if we keep being seen as being associated with bankers and builders – which none of us were ever associated with anyway,” he told TheJournal.ie.

Any speculation that he was to form a breakaway party – as his own grandfather, Éamon de Valera, did when he split from Sinn Féin to found Fianna Fáil – was “spin the newspapers were putting on it,” he added.

“I think if you listen to the full piece, or read the full piece as it appears in the papers, it’s very clear what I said.”

Ó Cuív also clarified that his interview with Ursula Halligan, for her continuing three-part documentary on Fianna Fáil, was given in July shortly before he was appointed as the deputy leader of the party.

The Galway West TD and former minister declined to comment, however, on his meeting with Martin today.

Tomorrow’s meeting of the Parliamentary Party is expected to decide on whether the party will allow its TDs and Senators to nominate any Presidential candidates of their choosing – a move which would boost the hopes of Dana, FF senator Labhrás Ó Murchú and non-party senator David Norris.

There has also been some speculation in the weekend’s papers that Cork-based MEP Brian Crowley has also been urged to rethink his withdrawal from the race, given the possibility that he may still secure a party nomination.

All three of those prospective candidates require the nomination of 20 members of the Oireachtas before nominations close on Wednesday week.

Fianna Fáil meeting will decide party’s Áras intentions >

No decision on Ó Murchú candidacy at FF meeting >

Poll: Who do you want to be the next President of Ireland?

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