Dana announces decision to enter race for presidency


Dana Rosemary Scallon has announced her intention to seek a nomination to contest the forthcoming presidential election as an Independent.

The former MEP and Eurovision winner has been canvassing the level of support for a presidential bid from Independents. She has also  been seeking the support of Fianna Fáil to enter the race.

To secure a place on the ballot paper, Ms Scallon would need the backing of four county councils or 20 Oireachtas members.

Speaking today, she said it was clear the people of Ireland wanted a "more open and fair nomination process."

"In a diverse society like ours we need real liberalism, not intolerance that discriminates. Everyone has the right to be treated with respect and to be free to express their opinions and values," she said.

"There is room in Ireland for people who have values and take decisions based on a moral judgement. People must not feel unrepresented - that is not a democracy.

"As nominations close on September 28th, I am calling on those members of the Oireachtas to grant me a nomination, so that the people of Ireland can decide. In the interest of equality I ask that members of the Oireachtas make room for a second woman."

Ms Scallon ran for the presidency in 1997 and secured her place on the ballot paper by winning a nomination from four county councils.

Ms Scallon finished third in that election behind Mary McAleese of Fianna Fáil and Mary Banotti of Fine Gael. But she was ahead of Labour Party candidate Adi Roche.

She picked up more than 175,000 first-preference votes in that poll, winning the support of 13.8 per cent of the electorate, and expressed interest in running again in 2004 but was unable to secure a nomination. President McAleese was automatically returned.

Ms Scallon was elected an MEP for Ireland West in the 1999 European election, but failed to retain her seat in 2004. She also ran in the Galway West constituency in the general election of 2002 but was not elected.

As an MEP she campaigned strongly against the Nice Treaty and against the abortion referendum proposals advanced by Bertie Ahern’s administration in 2001. The electorate voted No in both referendums but in the second Nice referendum in 2002 a majority voted in favour.