Crowley advised against Áras bid


FIANNA FÁIL TD Willie O’Dea says he has strongly advised MEP for Ireland South Brian Crowley not to seek the party’s nomination as a presidential candidate.

Mr O’Dea spoke directly to Mr Crowley recently, after the MEP wrote to Fianna Fáil colleagues confirming his interest in contesting the October 27th election.

“When I got his letter, out of respect for Brian because I’ve great personal admiration for him, I rang him and I told him my view was that we shouldn’t run a candidate. I’m still of the view we shouldn’t,” Mr O’Dea said.

“An internal candidate would be a very bad idea. It’s only six months since the most catastrophic general election result in the history of the party and we haven’t even begun to recover from that. Running an internal candidate and getting a very, very bad result would be a shattering blow for the party’s morale.”

Mr O’Dea said he would have no problem getting behind a good external candidate, “but I wouldn’t be beating the bushes to find an external candidate”.

Asked what he thought about the four candidates in the field, Mr O’Dea said: “Mary Davis is well qualified to be president.”

The Fianna Fáil party is divided between those who want to fight the election and those who believe resources would be better directed towards the local and European elections in 2014. Deputy leader Éamon Ó Cuív is among those who want the party to contest the election. Mr Crowley could not be contacted.

Meanwhile, former president Mary Robinson has no intention of running for the position again, despite many requests to do so. Under the Constitution, former presidents are entitled to nominate themselves as candidates.

Mrs Robinson has frequently been urged to put her name forward for the presidency again, according to her spokeswoman Bríd Rosney.

“It would not be accurate to say she was inundated. It would be accurate to say her office is getting calls about it and it’s a live issue on Twitter, but she has made it clear that she will not be nominating herself,” Ms Rosney said.

Article 12.4.4 of the Constitution states: “Former or retiring presidents may become candidates on their own nomination.”

Other candidates must secure the support of 20 Oireachtas members or four councils.

Mrs Robinson, a former United Nations high commissioner for human rights, served as president between 1990 and 1997. She left the Áras before serving her full term.

She went on to establish the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice.