Independents unlikely to nominate Áras candidate

INDEPENDENT TDs look unlikely to nominate any candidate for the presidency despite having considered a wish list of potentials for the race.

Insufficient time and the failure of any credible nominee to come forward was blamed by Independents yesterday who conceded that it may be too late to back a candidate.

After the exit of Senator David Norris from the race last month, Independent TDs and senators were undecided about supporting another presidential hopeful.

A number who spoke to the Irish Examiner indicated that it was unlikely now that a viable candidate for the Áras would be identified before the expected October 27 vote.

Kildare North TD Catherine Murphy said: “Personally, I can’t see there being a candidate for the technical group. You would have to be an extremely likeable and a well-known person to come out of the woodwork and make an impression at this stage.

“It doesn’t look like anyone [from the group] is actively out there looking for someone at the moment. People might feel a little bit burnt by the process.”

Donegal South West TD Thomas Pringle said: “I don’t think there is anyone jumping out that would be a good candidate. I don’t think realistically there’s anybody actively seeking nomination at this stage. In terms of a national campaign, you [a candidate] would need to be putting it together at this stage and getting finance.”

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown TD Richard Boyd Barrett added: “If we had a left [wing] candidate, we’d be glad. But there’s no candidate identified at the moment.”

Dublin Central TD Maureen O’Sullivan, who says she will support Labour’s Michael D Higgins after Mr Norris’ exit, said: “I’m waiting to see if anybody approaches me to see if they want support to stand.”

Leader of the technical group of Independent TDs, Finian McGrath, is known to have circulated a list of 10 potential nominees to colleagues in recent weeks which included such names as former Mountjoy Prison governor John Lonergan and broadcaster Olivia O’Leary.

Mr McGrath could not be contacted last night.

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