Davis and Gallagher nominated to run

Tue, Sep 13, 2011, 01:00

INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES Mary Davis and Seán Gallagher were both formally nominated as presidential candidates yesterday when they each received the support of the required number of local authorities.

Although the minimum number is four, Ms Davis went well beyond that, with backing for her nomination from 10 councils.

She had previously been officially nominated by the Galway County Council on September 2nd and Sligo County Council on September 5th.

Other councils which nominated her yesterday were: Monaghan, South Tipperary, Kerry, Wicklow, Wexford, Waterford, Mayo and Galway City Council.

She addressed Mayo County Council last night before travelling to Galway to address the city council there.

Meanwhile, Mr Gallagher yesterday received the support of two further local authorities to ensure his name will be on the ballot paper on October 27th.

Cork City Council and Clare County Council agreed to his nomination, which was already approved last week by Meath and Leitrim county councils.

Although Fianna Fáil supported Ms Davis’s nomination at Kerry County Council, Paul O’Donoghue – brother of former ceann comhairle John O’Donoghue – said: “An opportunity should be given to David Norris to enter the race.”

Later this week, Independent TDs and Senators are due to meet Ms Davis, director of the Trócaire aid organisation Justin Kilcullen and former MEP Dana Rosemary Scallon to discuss possible support for them as candidates.

Carlow County Council was addressed by Mr Gallagher yesterday but the party whips had agreed beforehand to postpone any decision until next Monday to allow other presidential aspirants to speak to them.

A local contender, Dr Pat Jones, also spoke to Carlow council, seeking a nomination.

Others who will be asked to speak at the next meeting, if their nomination has the support of a council member, are: Gary Smylie of Sligo, Richard McSweeney of Tallow, Co Waterford, Joseph Duffy of Monaghan and Barry Booth of Barntown, Co Wexford.

Carlow councillor Wayne Fennell (FG) said Mr Gallagher was “a man with great ideas” but he added that “unfortunately”, Fine Gael headquarters had “issued an ultimatum” that they were not to nominate anyone other than the party’s own candidate.

“I will be working hard for Gay Mitchell,” Mr Fennell said, but he was “very annoyed” he could not even nominate anyone else. “I feel very frustrated here because there is a mood for change in this country. I wish you well but I don’t think I will be able to help you,” he told Mr Gallagher.

Labour councillor for Carlow Des Hurley described his party’s nominee, Michael D Higgins, as “an excellent candidate – he has all the necessary credentials to be a good president”.

He told Mr Gallagher he would be working hard for Mr Higgins but added: “The people of Ireland deserve to have you in the race.” He added: “My party are not tying my hands behind my back” and he would therefore be voting to nominate Mr Gallagher.

Mr Gallagher said: “Thank you very much, councillor, I appreciate that.”

Commenting on her nomination by the councils, Ms Davis said: “I am honoured to have received their support and I pledge to them that I will work tirelessly over the coming six weeks to make their support count.”

Mr Gallagher said: “This has been a lengthy journey since I began the task of securing a route on to the ballot paper by asking councils around the country. Since the beginning of July, I have travelled thousands of kilometres and spoken with councillors the length and breadth of the country. That work has now paid off.”