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Thursday 15 November 2018

FF touting Miriam and Anne Doyle as possible candidates for the Aras

Miriam O’Callaghan pictured outside Leinster House. Photo: Tom Burke
Miriam O’Callaghan pictured outside Leinster House. Photo: Tom Burke

Broadcaster Miriam O'Callaghan and former news anchor Anne Doyle are among the names being proposed by Fianna Fail councillors as the party's candidate for next year's presidential election.

A document compiled by councillors and sent to Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin revealed an overwhelming majority (94pc) wanted the party to contest the race for Aras an Uachtarain.

The document detailed serious criticisms of the leadership's decision not to contest the 2011 election, which was won by Michael D Higgins.

Disparity

It also showed a huge disparity of views over who should be the party's candidate.

Among the non-political names proposed by councillors were Ms O'Callaghan, Ms Doyle, Pieta House founder Joan Freeman, Kerry footballer Marc O Se and barrister Noel Whelan.

Councillors also recommended consideration be given to selecting former politicians, including Bertie Ahern, Conor Lenihan, Dermot Ahern, Mary O'Rourke and Maire Geoghegan-Quinn.

Martin McAleese, the husband of former president Mary McAleese, and former TD Sile de Valera also featured on the list.

Among the sitting Oireachtas members cited were TDs Eamon O Cuiv, Barry Cowen and Timmy Dooley, as well as Ceann Comhairle Sean O Fearghail and Senator Mark Daly.

Mr O Cuiv secured the most support of all of those named as potential candidates, but the document illustrated how councillors have mixed views over the prospect of approaching Ms O'Callaghan.

"Micheal Martin wants Miriam O'Callaghan to run, but I'm not convinced. He wanted Gay Byrne last time, and that made us look like clowns," said one.

Another said: "Last time was a farce with Fianna Fail trying to convince Uncle Gaybo to run.

"Lesson learned, and the last thing we should be doing is going for another media celebrity."

A third said: "The focus should be on the General Election and local elections for 2019.

"Presidential election may not even happen, as President Higgins has the media in his pocket anyway."

Another's response was: "I like Michael D, but I heard Fr Brian D'Arcy on the TV say that as a friend of his, he would be telling him to call it a day at 77."

When contacted, Ms O'Callaghan declined to comment on whether she would accept a nomination to run.

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