Fianna Fáil unable to decide on presidential candidate

Fianna Fáil is to decide on Tuesday whether individual TDs and Senators will be allowed a free vote to back a presidential candidate of their choice.

A six-hour party meeting to decide on who to support broke up without agreement last night with TDs and Senators split over the prospect of backing Senator Labhras O'Murchu as an independent.

Meanwhile, Senator David Norris is to appear on 'The Late Late Show' tonight where it is expected he will explain why he wants to re-enter the race, while Sinn Féin could name its candidate later today.

But Dana Rosemary Scallon is also in the frame and when the meeting resumes on Tuesday

a decision will be made on whether to unify behind a single candidate or allow a free vote.

The problem for the party leadership however is that its concerned that Senator O'Murchu would be seen as a Fianna Fáil candidate.

If his campaign fails to take off further damage could be done to the party and to its leader Micháel Martin.

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