Norris says bid asks questions of FG

Fri, May 13, 2011, 01:00

INDEPENDENT SENATOR David Norris said his potential presidential bid has “raised questions which the Fine Gael party have to resolve for themselves”.

Mr Norris welcomed Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin’s decision to allow councillors from his party a free vote in the nomination of presidential candidates.

“Micheál Martin has started the process of opening it up because he has said that people of substance should be allowed into the race. He has released the councillors. That’s a beginning. I think he has further to go, but I thank him for it,” Mr Norris said.

Fine Gael has instructed its councillors to block the nomination of Mr Norris. “My candidacy has raised questions which the Fine Gael party have to resolve for themselves,” he said.

Fingal County Council this week said it would nominate Senator David Norris for the presidency. Potential candidates for the position of president need support from 20 members of the Dáil and Seanad, or the backing of four local authorities, to secure a nomination.

Meanwhile, Dragons’ Den judge Sean Gallagher, who has also said he wants to be an Independent candidate, revealed he was seeking cross-party support for his bid because the Independent members were not a cohesive group. “That could be Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, I will happily take TDs or Senators from Labour or Fine Gael,” he said.

“If I or any other company was employing somebody they would not look at their political background. They would look at the role, what that role should be, and the skill sets required to be effective.”

Mr Gallagher, who was on the Fianna Fáil national executive last year, said the presidential role was above party politics. The potential rivals for the position of president were speaking at the launch of a campaign by the Console suicide bereavement and prevention service in Dublin yesterday.