Fine Gael Oireachtas members

'and she has a good chance of getting the Fine Gael nomination.'

The Government Chief Whip confirmed that he had spoken to Ms. Doyle at the weekend about the matter. He said he was committed to canvassing for her ahead of the FG selection convention due to take place on July 19. The decision will be made by party councillor, Senators, national executive members, MEPs and TDs.

'It's great for Wexford even to have a candidate going forward,' enthused Paul Kehoe who beat the Crossabeg resident to a Dáil seat in the election of 2002. 'Avril is a well respected politician and a good performer. She has the experience to be a good President.'

Ms. Doyle finds herself running against Pat Cox, Gay Mitchell and her old sparring partner in the Leinster European Parliament stakes, Mairead McGuinness. 'It will be an extremely tough contest but I believe that Avril Doyle can get the nomination,' said Minister Kehoe.

Gorey Senator Michael D'Arcy Jnr. said he will also support Ms Doyle. 'I think she would be a good candidate,' he said. 'She's a vastly experienced public representative, who would bring her own qualities to the office of President.'

'I wish her well, and I will be supporting her in any attempt to win the nomination on July 9,' he said.

He said he had spoken to Avril in the past few days, but said at that stage, she had yet to finalise her decision. Avril confirmed her attention to stand at lunchtime yesterday (Tuesday).

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