Growing number of TDs, Senators to vote for McNulty

Some Oireachtas members feel he has been treated poorly by FG leadership

John McNulty: his  name remains on the ballot paper for the Seanad byelection

John McNulty: his name remains on the ballot paper for the Seanad byelection

 

A growing number of Fine Gael and Labour TDs and Senators say they will vote for John McNulty, the original Fine Gael candidate in the the Seanad byelection, even though Mr McNulty has asked them not to do so.

Mr McNulty’s name remains on the ballot paper for the Seanad byelection next week because candidates were confirmed last month and cannot be withdrawn officially at this stage. But he has asked TDs and Senators not to vote for him in the wake of the controversy over his candidature.

While declining to say publicly that they will back Mr McNulty, some Oireachtas members feel he has been treated poorly by the Fine Gael leadership and has seen his reputation unfairly tarnished by the controversy.

Ballots already cast

Paul Coghlan

Mr Coghlan confirmed to the Fine Gael parliamentary party last night that he had already voted. But numerous TDs and Senators who have still to vote said they would support Mr McNulty.

Winning number

“I was speaking to four people already today who said they voted for McNulty,” one Fine Gael TD said yesterday.

A Labour Minister said voting for Mr McNulty, a government candidate, was far preferable to abstaining, or voting for Sinn Féin’s candidate, Catherine Seeley, or Independent Gerard Craughwell, who is supported by Fianna Fáil.

The issue was also raised at yesterday’s meeting of the Labour parliamentary party, but Tánaiste Joan Burton did not offer any direction to her TDs and Senators on how to vote.

“The leadership was very anxious not to be seen to be directing people,” a Labour source said. “It’s a Fine Gael problem, it’s still a Fine Gael problem.”