RTÉ reported last night that a party whip was being applied to Fianna Fail TD’s and Senators to stop them individually nominating Independent candidates.
Speaking in an interview aired on RTÉ’s This Week In Politics, Seán Ó Fearghail, The Fianna Fail whip, said the party would act collectively if it chooses to support an independent candidate.
This is seen as a blow to the possible return of Senator Norris to the race for the Presidency.
The Irish Times today reports on a possible reason why Fianna Fail will not be back Senator Norris. One source said that Mr Norris had been arrogant in his approach to the party earlier in the summer, when he needed only a few nominations. Another source described Norris’s possible re-emergence as a candidate as a “distraction” which was “of no concern” to the party.
A Fianna Fáil spokesman said the party’s position was that it had decided not to run a candidate. Once the nominations were in, it would look at those running and then decide whether to support a particular candidate. He said the question of facilitating a candidate by nominating the person was not an issue for Fianna Fáil because no one had contacted the party to seek such support.
The Irish Independent reports that Fianna Fail senators, in particular, are angry with Mr Norris over the way he handled their offer of support over the summer. Surces said informal contacts were rebuffed in a dismissive way.
“He thought he didn’t need us then, that he would get the 20 anyway and he basically thumbed his nose at us,” one senator said.
“Well, he can think twice if he’s looking our support now,” he added.
Another said he was “rude enough” and “didn’t engage” when the offer was made.
One FF senator said: “I wouldn’t sign his nomination papers if you put them in front of me in the morning.”
After the contacts, the Fianna Fail group in the Seanad met in July to discuss signing his nomination papers formally, and this was rejected by the group of 14 senators.
So is it all over for Norris? Or will he re-enter the race on Friday during his interview on the Late Late Show?
- Norris to re-enter Race for the Aras? (stephenspillane.com)
- Race for the Aras Gets Under-way (stephenspillane.com)
- FF set to withdraw from Áras race (irishexaminer.com)
- The race for the Presidency – what do people really want? (irishelection.com)