Fianna Fáil frontbenchers do not back Ó Cuív presidential bid

Timmy Dooley says he is following party policy and supporting Michael D Higgins

File image of Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Éamon Ó Cuív at the Mansion House, Dublin. File photograph: Aidan Crawley

File image of Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Éamon Ó Cuív at the Mansion House, Dublin. File photograph: Aidan Crawley

 

Fianna Fáil (FF) frontbencher Timmy Dooley has said he will “follow party policy” and support Michael D Higgins in the forthcoming presidential election even if FF TD Éamon Ó Cuív is nominated as a candidate.

Mr Dooley was speaking at the launch in Dublin on Tuesday of the party’s policy on public funding for quality newspaper journalism, where he stressed that the party had already taken its decision on the presidency.

Asked if he would vote against Mr Ó Cuív if he became a candidate, Mr Dooley said: “If Éamon Ó Cuív or anyone else gets onto the ballot, they will do so as an Independent candidate. I’ll be supporting the party decision, which is that we’re not running a candidate, and that we’re supporting Michael D Higgins.

“The parliamentary party has already decided on that. Éamon Ó Cuív participated in that meeting, so as far as I’m concerned and as far as the party is concerned, the matter is closed.

“The party has set out its position on this. How individual councillors react is a matter for themselves.”

His remarks come after two FF councillors in Galway expressed their support in recent days for a presidential run by Mr Ó Cuív, with one of them, Ollie Crowe, writing to all Fianna Fáil councillors urging them to back Mr Ó Cuív for nomination.

However, Mr Ó Cuív has not said if he is interested in a nomination.

On Tuesday, the chairman of Galway County Council, Seán Ó Tuairisg, said that councillors and party members in Galway wanted the party to run a candidate.

However, he said that he was not sure if Mr Ó Cuív was going to run. “I’m not 100 per cent certain, he is not giving us a direct answer on the matter at the moment, but I think he would be an excellent candidate,” he told Raidió na Gaeltachta.

Earlier, frontbencher Niall Collins said he did not expect Mr Ó Cuív to be a candidate.