McGrath 'Won't Back Norris' For President

An Independent TD has decided not to sign Senator David Norris's nomination papers for the Irish Republic's Presidential race, after his supporters voted against the move.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath had indicated that he would sign Senator Norris' papers but only after he sought approval from a core group of his supporters.

Speaking to RTE Mr McGrath said his supporters voted by three to one against him signing Senator Norris' papers.

He said he personally wanted to facilitate Senator David Norris' Presidential nomination, but he had to listen to what his supporters had to say.

The South Tipperary TD said: "I put the question to my supporters 'Should Mattie nominate David Norris?' and then I put it to a vote. 71 people voted and of that 71 people, 75% of them said no."

"120 people were invited to the meeting and 71 people attended. They are my core group that run my campaign so I had to listen to them," he added.

Meanwhile Dublin South Independent TD Shane Ross has signed Senator Norris' papers despite his support for Michael D Higgins in the upcoming presidential election.

Mr Ross said that he will be supporting Michael D Higgins for the presidency, but signed the nomination papers because he did not want to be "one of the instruments that obstructs democracy".

Senator Norris has also won the backing of Laois County Council in bid to get on the Presidential ballot paper.

Announcing the development on his Twitter feed Senator Norris said: "I am delighted to announce that my home county of Laois has just agreed to nominate me for the Presidential race."

With Fingal County Council secured - he now has the support of two of the four local authorities needed.

Mr Norris has however failed in his bid to receive a presidential nomination from Carlow County Council.The council this afternoon opted to back Dana Rosemary Scallon after a tied vote.

Now Senator Norris will have to push to get the rest of the support needed from other local authorities but Dana Rosemary Scallon, who is also looking to bag their support, will challenge him.

Both need to secure the backing of four local authorities to make it onto the ballot paper.

Around 12 county councils are to meet in the next few days to decide who they will be supporting.

Controversy Continues

Separately it has been claimed by Sinn Fein that different parts of the Irish establishment are still throwing a "hissy fit" over Martin McGuinness's decision to run for Irish Presidency.

Sinn Fein have said that the reaction demonstrated shows that some in the Republic believe it is "the only legitimate entity, and the ones up the road in the North are really a nuisance and an inconvenience".

Speaking at the party's reception at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool last night, Party President Mary Lou McDonald said Mr McGuinness should be judged on his role in the peace process as well as IRA history.

Despite the controversy surrounding Mr McGuiness, polls in the Sunday papers revealed that he was a strong candidate.

The Deputy First Minister, who has temporarily stepped down from his Stormont Executive role, was in third place in two Sunday newspaper polls.

However the majority (67%) of those interviewed via a Sunday Independent/Quantum Research telephone poll said it was too soon for "a man of violence to be president, even if he has embraced the democratic process".

Martin McGuinness polled 16% in yesterday's Sunday Business Post/Red C tracking poll compared to Senator Norris at 21% and Labour's Michael D Higgins at 18%.

A Sunday Independent/Quantum Research poll put Mr McGuinness in third place at 15%, with Senator Norris leading with 29% and Michael D Higgins on 17%.


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