Northern Ireland

Micheal Martin defends Fianna Fail's no candidate decision

Gay Byrne
Image caption Broadcaster Gay Byrne declined to stand in the presidential election

The Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin has defended his party's decision not to run a candidate in the Republic's upcoming presidential election.

The decision was made on Wednesday following a three-hour meeting at Leinster House.

Mr Martin said the outcome had been influenced by the party's poor showing in the general election in March.

Fianna Fail said it had not ruled out the possibility of backing another candidate.

It will make a decision after nominations close in September.

The party, which had been in power for 22 of the last 24 years, was seen to have presided over the boom, the bust and the bailout in the Irish Republic.

Mr Martin said the decision had not been made in a "vacuum".

"We undertook comprehensive research as well which is important in any modern political situation," he said.

"The indications and illustrations were very clear from the work that we have been doing that the closeness of this election to the general election is such that there wouldn't be any significant shift or change in terms of public opinion."

The party recently failed to persuade veteran broadcaster Gay Byrne to stand in the presidential election.

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