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Kerry TDs, Flanagan and McGrath back McGuinness but who’s supporting Norris?

Sinn Féin’s candidate has the numbers to be on the ballot paper but David Norris faces a battle to secure enough support. We crunch the numbers on who is backing who.

Martin McGuinness
Martin McGuinness
Image: Paul Faith/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Updated 5.25pm

FOUR INDEPENDENT TDS have agreed to sign the nomination papers for Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness to run for president of Ireland.

Sinn Féin, with 17 Oireachtas members, needs three extra signatures in order to ensure the Northern Ireland deputy first minister’s place on the ballot paper.

However, the party has now secured the support of four independents ahead of tomorrows party Ard Comhairle meeting which is expected to ratify McGuinness as the Sinn Féin candidate for the election.

Finian McGrath, who earlier today said he was undecided, has told TheJournal.ie this evening that he is throwing his support behind McGuinness saying he was approached by Sinn Féin when they had only 19 signatures out of the 20 required.

The Dublin North Central TD had previously supported David Norris but said he would not be supporting the independent senator’s attempt at securing the nomination again because he had “lost confidence and trust in him” over the controversy surrounding Norris’s former partner Ezra Nawi.

Another independent TD who had previously basked Norris, Luke Ming Flanagan, has also decided to nominate McGuinness.

The Roscommon-South Leitrim TD said on Twitter this afternoon: ”As a member of Dail Eireann I have agreed to facilitate Martin McGuinness in putting his name on the presidential ballot paper.”

This afternoon, Kerry South TD Tom Fleming told TheJournal.ie he has nominated McGuinness in order to “give him an opportunity to enter the race so as that he can go before the electorate, so people can pass judgement.”

RTÉ reports that fellow Kerry South TD Michael Healy-Rae has also nominated McGuinness.

Norris

Norris is facing a battle get 20 signatures having made clear yesterday that he has resumed his interest in being the next president.

The Trinity scholar dropped out of the race in August following controversy over his former partner Ezra Nawi. He told The Late Late Show last night that he hoped to be on the ballot paper but it depended on the 20 signatures he needs.

Before dropping out of the race, Norris had secured the backing of 15 Oireachtas members but three of these have already confirmed they will not be supporting him this time around.

As well as McGrath and Flanagan, Donegal South West independent TD Thomas Pringle, told TheJournal.ie earlier today that he was not going back on his decision to withdraw support and said he would not be backing Norris.

Pringle also said he hadn’t been approached by Sinn Féin about nominating McGuinness.

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Norris has however gained the backing of four independent TDs who did not originally declare their support for his nomination.

People Before Profit’s Joan Collins told TheJournal.ie that she, party colleague Richard Boyd-Barrett and the Socialist Party’s Joe Higgins and Clare Daly would nominate Norris.

“On the basis of the popular support that Norris has we would facilitate him for a nomination and let the people decide,” she said.

Dublin Central TD Maureen O’Sullivan has also said she will support Norris telling TheJournal.ie he “should have the opportunity to stand.”

Independent senator John Crowne said he would nominate Norris, as he had pledged to do originally.

The positions of independent TDs John Halligan, Stephen Donnelly, Mick Wallace, and Catherine Murphy, who all backed Norris’s nomination originally, are not clear and they could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.

The five senators who also backed Norris originally – Fiach Mac Conghail, Katherine Zappone, Sean D Barrett, Mary Ann O’Brien, and Mary Louise O’Donnell – could also not be reached for comment at the time of publication.

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

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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