Boost for Norris as left-wing TDs to support nomination

 

SENATOR DAVID Norris’s presidential campaign has received a boost after a number of left-wing TDs confirmed they would support his nomination.

However, with numbers tight it still appears as if Mr Norris will need the support of some Fianna Fáil TDs and Senators if he is to secure a place on the ballot paper.

The Fianna Fáil parliamentary party will meet tomorrow to decide who, if anyone, to support. Party leader Micheál Martin may decide to grant his members a free vote, enabling them to nominate Mr Norris if they wished.

The Senator, who dropped out of the nomination race last month before announcing his return last Friday, needs the backing of 20 Oireachtas members to become an official candidate.

It is thought unlikely that he will pursue the support of local councils given the looming deadline of September 28th for the reception of nominations.

Six TDs who originally supported Mr Norris before his withdrawal from the race are likely to continue that support. These are Maureen O’Sullivan and John Crown, who confirmed that they would be nominating Mr Norris when contacted yesterday, and Catherine Murphy, Stephen Donnelly, Mick Wallace and Seán Barrett, who were unavailable for comment.

Independent TDs who once supported Mr Norris but no longer do include Dublin North Central TD Finian McGrath, Kildare North TD Catherine Murphy, Donegal South West TD Thomas Pringle and Waterford TD John Halligan.

People Before Profit TDs Joan Collins and Richard Boyd Barrett have committed to facilitating Mr Norris’s nomination, as have Socialist Party TDs Joe Higgins and Clare Daly.

Speaking to The Irish Timesyesterday, Ms Collins said that they would nominate Mr Norris as there was “no real left alternative” remaining.

This will come as a disappointment to Michael D Higgins who, as Labour’s nominee, would see himself as a candidate of the left.

Ms Collins added that the electorate should decide whether Mr Norris was the person best suited to be the president of Ireland, and that his continued public popularity was worthy of a place on the ballot paper.

If fellow United Left Alliance TD Séamus Healy also supports Senator Norris, those five nominations along with the six original supporters would bring the number of Oireachtas members facilitating a Norris nomination to 11 – leaving him nine short.

The Norris campaign could also look towards six Independent Taoiseach nominees to the Senate who may facilitate his campaign. They are: Marie Louise O’Donnell, Mary Ann O’Brien, Katherine Zappone, Fiach Mac Conghail, Jillian Van Turnhout and Eamonn Coghlan.

Other Independent TDs who have yet to declare their intentions are Michael Lowry, Shane Ross, Mattie McGrath and Noel Grealish.