Fianna Fail has failed with a desperate plea to broadcasting legend Gay Byrne to run as a candidate on its behalf in the forthcoming Presidential Election.

The Sunday Independent also reports that fellow RTE star Miriam O’Callaghan has no interest in Fianna Fail’s approaches to join the race to succeed Mary McAleese.

The paper claims that the Fianna Fail leadership want to support a high profile candidate from outside the party whom it could nominate without having to support publicly or financially - but they just can’t find one.

Byrne, who has admitted his recent return to work is a necessity due to bad financial investments, politely declined an approach from Fianna Fail last week.

O’Callaghan, one of the highest profile presenters at the national broadcaster RTE, has also dismissed suggestions she would run for the Presidency with Fianna Fail support.

She has told the Sunday Independent that she will not be standing in the election and would only ever consider running as an independent candidate in the future.

“It’s a story that just won’t go away,” said O’Callaghan. “This started last year. It’s quite extraordinary but if people think I’m going to jump out of the bushes at the last minute and make a dash for the Park they are wrong.

“I will not be running for the Presidency this year. If I do you can come back and haunt me.”

Financial problems within Fianna Fail have hit the party’s plans to run a candidate with leader Micheal Martin warning that any campaign would cost over $700,000.

“Not having an official Fianna Fail candidate may be the way forward,” a senior party source told the paper.

“What they are looking for is someone to whom they could give a nomination who would have national appeal. If they won, it would reflect well on the party.”