High ranking Fianna Fail members have welcomed Gay Byrne’s astonishing attack on the European Union and believe it will help him win the Presidential election.
A number of well known Fianna Fail deputies in the Irish Parliament believe Byrne’s attack on the Eurocrats will go down well with the electorate.
The veteran broadcaster, still to decide on running in the October election, has claimed that Ireland is ‘being run by mad people in Brussels’.
The controversial comments have dominated the headlines and helped push Byrne to the top of the latest opinion polls.
They have also proved popular with the Fianna Fail party who may ditch all plans to run their own candidate and support the 77-year-old Byrne instead in the race to succeed Mary McAleese.
Laois-Offaly deputy Seán Fleming told the Irish Independent that a lot of people would ‘empathize’ with Byrne’s outspoken views.
“There’s an awful lot of Irish people out there not in love with Europe,” claimed Fleming.
“I often hear people giving out about Europe. The Irish people, they probably feel we’re stuck with Europe and the bailout and the euro and it’s not out of any great love.
“Gay Byrne is a man who’s always had his finger on the pulse in Ireland and he’s well on the pulse on this one. I think a lot of people will empathize with what Gay said.”
Galway Fianna Fail deputy Michael Kitt claimed that, like Byrne, his constituents would have a lot of issues with Europe.
“I think everybody would be a bit concerned about some of the directives, edicts and proposed legislation coming from Europe,” said Kitt.
“If Gay Byrne were to be elected president, I couldn’t see it being a big issue because that tension is going to be there anyway.”
Byrne’s anti-Europe stance is at loggerheads with the views of Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin who has already offered the broadcaster his support in any Presidential election bid.
Fianna Fail deputies are still prepared to back Byrne despite his views on Europe.
“It’s not an issue for me,” said Limerick deputy Niall Collins. “I’ve no problem with him expressing his opinions.
“He’s entitled to express his personally held views on things. Just because somebody’s considering running for the Arás doesn’t mean that they have to be gagged or they have to curb their views.”