Fianna Fáil TD dismisses letter backing O'Cuiv presidential bid

A Fianna Fáil TD has dismissed a letter in support of his party colleague Eamon O'Cuiv to run for Ireland’s presidency, saying the matter is “closed”.

Opposition communications spokesman Timmy Dooley said his party had made its decision to back current President Michael D Higgins in the forthcoming election.

A letter was circulated to councillors around Ireland on Monday calling for support for Galway West deputy Mr O Cuiv.

Fianna Fáil councillor Ollie Crow said backing Mr O Cuiv would “right the wrong” of the decision taken by party leader Micheal Martin not to stand against Mr Higgins.

Timmy Dooley backed his party’s stance (Niall Carson/PA)

Mr Martin secured the backing of the parliamentary party which can effectively nominate a candidate to contest the presidential election.

Mr Dooley said: “The facts are that the party has taken a decision on this – and the parliamentary party has already decided on that.

“I know O'Cuiv participated in that meeting so as far as I’m concerned the matter is closed.

“The parliamentary party has set out its position, how individual councillors react is really a matter for themselves.

“If Eamon O'Cuiv or anyone else gets on to the ballot, they will do so as any independent candidate.

“I’ll be supporting the party decision which is we won’t be running a party candidate and that we are supporting Michael D Higgins.”

President Michael D Higgins (Brian Lawless/PA)

Mr Dooley also hit out at premier Leo Varadkar after he said he should have been “more clear” when he made a promise that no other women impacted by the CervicalCheck scandal would have to go to court.

The Taoiseach faced criticism after a number of women caught up in the controversy had to go to court despite promises by Mr Varadkar in May that no woman would have to go through a court process.

Leo Varadkar said he should have been more clear about the CervicalCheck scandal (Brian Lawless/PA)

Mr Dooley said: “I think the Taoiseach was in a political corner at that time, I think he meandered his way through that particular conversation.

“He gave people to believe he was going to do something he couldn’t do and in my view he knew he couldn’t do, he was perhaps hoping for the best. And if he didn’t know he should have known.

“I think he has foisted an appalling burden on these people who have suffered, and for political expediency he used language and gave commitments that he wasn’t in a position to, and now he’s trying to worm his way out of.

“He’s got to come forward and be much more clear and accept what he said was wrong.”

Eamon O'Cuiv.

- Press Association

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