No official Fianna Fáil candidate for Irish Presidential election

As recommended by the party’s six member sub-committee on the issue, and with Gay Byrne not accepting the invite [and Micháel Ó Muircheartaigh? – Ed], Fianna Fáil have confirmed they will not be putting forward a candidate in this year’s Irish Presidential election.  But they reserve the option to back someone else.  [If anyone will accept that endorsement? – Ed]  You might very well think that…

In the Irish Times Harry McGee adds

Speaking at a press conference after the meeting Mr Martin said that it has been a difficult decision for the party and “understandably there have been different perspectives and position” expressed by members.

He rejected the suggestion that he had handled the situation badly, firstly by approaching Gay Byrne, and secondly by not [being] more encouraging to South MEP Brian Crowley who had expressed a strong interest in contesting the election.

Mr Martin said that he had been criticised in the media for making a direct approach to Mr Byrne. He said that it was “old politics” to use an intermediary and he preferred using the “direct rout”. He also said that knowing Gay Byrne as he did he was aware of the way he did things in a public manner.

“I know that when you make a phone call to Gay Byrne that will happen,” he said.

He said that research conducted by the party suggested Mr Crowley was getting very much a Munster showing (but not strong support levels elsewhere) and he was upfront when informing Mr Crowley about that.

“I am not about playing games,” he said.

When the nominations close in September, said Mr Martin, Fianna Fáil will take a decision at that stage if its will endorse any of the existing candidates, or any other candidate that emerges.

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  • Alias

    Well then, it’s Michael D Higgins as the next president.

    It’s interesting that Martin is of the opinion that he handled the matter with political skill. If creating the impression among the general public that no one other than a mediocre party hack would touch your nomination with a barge pole requires skill, then he is certainly a smooth operator.

  • Dewi

    Don’t blame FF – must be totally skint.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Unless there’s a black swan somewhere, Michael D looks home and hosed.

  • Greenflag

    @studenimm,

    Well the electorate could have had a choice as between two Gays ( Byrne and Mitchell) and then there was /is the possibility of a real gay as with Senator Norris .

    On this occasion it seems there has been a surfeit of Gays both in nomenclature and in gender orientation 😉

    I’m reminded of the old South African yarn when Sakkie Van der Merwe was foreman on a road building gang somewhere outside Pretoria in the pre Mandela era . Sakkie had grown up in Southern Rhodesia /Zimbabwe and had not been in South Africa for a while . Suddenly he was aware of a large limousine approaching him and the window being rolled down .

    ‘ Ach Sakkie you old Boer said the voice -how are you doing these days .

    Ach Boetjes it’s you I’m doing fine and how are you doing ?

    ‘I’m now the President of South Africa replied Botha ( known as the Croc )

    Oh said Sakkie -not batting an eyelid – ‘up in Zimbabwe that’s a blackman’s job these days ‘

  • michael-mcivor

    There was no official Fianna Fáil candidate for any of the last elections in 6 of Ireland’s counties-

    Perhaps this new resolution of theirs not to run in the presidential elections is their first step to not standing again for elections in the 26 counties-

    Fianna Fáil have took many steps towards their end- this could be another one-

  • Mick Fealty

    I’d be VERY interested in Henry 94’s view on Michael D, and what it would mean for the country.

    The most surprising thing about FF is not that this is the first time they’ve not contested a Presidential election, but that so many of them have been uncontested (the two Protestant incumbents were both all party candidates, elected by acclaimation), and that FF have almost always (with exception of Mary Robinson), won all of the contested ones.

    Just kind of underscores the reality of February.

  • Rory Carr

    Impressive as Henry 94’s contributions can sometimes be, I am not so sure that they would necessarily mean a lot for the country, Mick. But then maybe I’m a bit out of touch these days.

    I am also having difficulty in reconciling the claim that while “the two Protestant incumbents were both all party candidates elected by acclaimation”, Mary Robinson’s candidature was however an exception.

    Was Mary Robinson not a Protestant then or did she not receive all-party support?

  • Mick Fealty

    Well, I don’t actually know if she is. She married one, certainly. But she seems to have been raised Catholic.

  • Henry94

    Rory,

    You had to spoil the moment.

    I don’t think Michael D. will win despite the poll today which shows him doing very well. If we are to take it that the election of a President is a statement about the country from the voters then I don’t see how he can. What he represents does not reflect the mood as I sense it. If I was to put money on it I’d bet that Gay Mitchell will win.

    That would tell us that we are angry fearful and still hoping the EU will come through for us despite all the evidence.

  • Henry94

    Was Mary Robinson not a Protestant?

    No, Douglas Hyde and Erskine Childers were the Protestant Presidents.