Four more councils agree to give Nally nomination
Mr Derek Nally became the fifth candidate in the presidential election yesterday, when he secured a nomination from four county councils to add to the one council already supporting him.
Last week Clare County Council passed a motion nominating him and yesterday Wexford, Carlow, Kildare and South Dublin councils did likewise.
Travelling by helicopter he visited as many councils as possible yesterday but his nomination was rejected in Meath, Cork, Kilkenny and Louth.
The following is a list of councils which met yesterday and how they voted:
Meath County Council voted against nominating Mr Nally. The meeting was called to discuss the recycling of waste in the county but first debated and voted on the motion to nominate Mr Nally, which was proposed by Mr Jack Fitzsimons (Ind).
He said it gave an opportunity to people like Mr Nally who could not get the support of political parties to be nominated. It also allowed local authority members who were not attached to parties to be in the democratic process, he asserted, and if the council blocked the nomination it was interfering with that process.
The motion was seconded by another Independent councillor, Mr Gerry Marry, and defeated by just one vote; 19 of the 29 members were present. Eight voted against the motion, seven were in favour and there were four abstentions. None of the parties imposed whips and some Labour and Fianna Fail members voted in favour of the motion. Fianna Fail TD Mr Johnny Brady abstained, while Fine Gael TD Mr John Farrelly voted against.
Wexford County Council, as expected, supported Mr Nally to enter the presidential race. At a special meeting to consider the nomination of the Victim Support founder, councillors from Fine Gael and Fianna Fail abstained in the ballot, allowing the votes of two Independents and two Fianna Fail councillors to formally nominate Mr Nally to run for the Presidency.
Following the proposal of Independent councillor, Mr Padge Reck, which was seconded by Independent colleague, Mr Leo Carty, the proposal received the support of Fianna Fail's Mr Rory Murphy and Mr Lorcan Allen.
Senator Jim Walsh (FF) was the only member present to vote against, while 10 councillors abstained.
A special meeting of Carlow County Council endorsed Mr Nally's presidential nomination by 12 votes to two with three abstentions. Fianna Fail councillors Mr John Pender and Mr Jimmy Murnane voted against Mr Nally's nomination, while the abstentions were Deputy John Browne (FG), Councillor Mary McDonald (FG) and Mr Jim Townsend (Lab).
Mr Nally lives in Co Carlow just over the border from Wexford.
Mr Nally had to be content with a round of applause from Cork County Council. His attempt to secure a presidential nomination was defeated by 20 votes to 11 after Fianna Fail councillors all voted "No". Fianna Fail decided at a party meeting before the special council meeting to impose a whip. Fine Gael allowed a free vote. Some supported Mr Nally and others abstained. There were 10 absentions. The four Labour Party councillors left for the funeral of Deputy Jim Kemmy in Limerick before the vote was taken.
Dana was also a contender in Cork yesterday. Her proposer, the former Fine Gael junior minister, Mr Paddy Hegarty, who is now an independent, said that as Dana's nomination was secure he was pleased to withdraw her name. He understood that if the council sent forward two names both could be disqualified.
"I want to be on the ballot paper when the Irish people vote for their eighth President on October 30th. You can make that happen," Mr Nally told councillors. He was conscious of the political constraints and that there were already four candidates "any of whom would make an excellent President".
He was merely seeking support to allow his name to go forward. He said he wanted to demonstrate that "a man of ordinary means and ordinary sound values can become President of Ireland. I feel I represent a broad section of Irish society". He pointed out that Douglas Hyde, the State's first president, had been a non-party candidate.
The Independent Midleton councillor Mr Noel Collins, who proposed Mr Nally, asked: "where are Fir na hEireann?". He said Mr Nally was a man with a humanitarian approach to all human problems. The nomination was seconded by former PD and now Independent councillor Mr Derry Canty.
For Fine Gael, Mr John Cal McCarthy said it was the first time since he had been elected that the council had the opportunity of supporting a presidential candidate. Fine Gael had decided to allow a free vote. Councillor Jack Roche, of Fianna Fail, announced: "We have a very able candidate. We will vote against other candidates."
Kilkenny County Council rejected by a majority vote a resolution proposing the nominate of Mr Nally as a presidential candidate. The vote was 11 to eight against the resolution, with one abstention.
There were no proposers for any of three other aspiring nominees. Only one of the applicants was present to accept the invitation by council chairman, Mr Dick Dowling (FG), to address the council: Mrs Mary Margaret Doyle Dunne, a familiar figure for years in O'Connell Street, Dublin, where she has regularly addressed passers-by on the Virgin Mary and issues of morality and religion.
Mrs Doyle Dunne told the council she had been baptised in Goresbridge, Co Kilkenny, and that her mother, a Hogan, was "a direct descendant of High King Brian Boru". She said it was essential that Kilkenny should speak out now for "wonderful Mary, the Virgin of Israel".
Men had not contributed sufficiently and that was why women had to come forward now - "a woman has to get through to a man about the importance of Scripture". She had written to former president Mrs Robinson about "the destruction of marriage by divorce, contraception, abortion and homosexuality", she said, adding: "She said she could not do anything, so I felt that was a very poor Presidency."
Mrs Doyle Dunne also declared that, in the agricultural sector, "there is a lack of upholding the Sabbath Day." She asked why the Irish Press had been closed down "that de Valera founded" and said: "I have sent letters to the Irish Independent and The Irish Times - very important letters - and they seem to be ignored."
Alderman Kieran Crotty (FG) proposed the nomination of Mr Nally, saying it was a healthy and democratic thing that county councils should exercise their power to nominate. Mr Tom Maher (FG) seconded the proposal which was supported by Fine Gael councillors, including the chairman, but most Fianna Fail and Labour councillors present voted against and the resolution was declared defeated.
Mr Nally, who was on a whistlestop tour of other council meetings, was unable to be present for the proceedings, but his wife and several supporters sat in the public gallery.
Kildare County Council voted six-one, with 15 abstentions, to nominate Mr Nally. Earlier, the council members voted five-three, also with 15 abstentions, to select Mr Nally instead of Dana.
Dana was proposed by Independent member Mr Francis Brown and seconded by Mr Timmy Conway (PD). Councillor Conway proposed Mr Nally and Mr Paddy Wright (SF) seconded the proposal.
Afterwards a source close to Dana's team claimed some council members were mistakenly informed that she had obtained a nomination from Donegal County Council just before the Kildare vote was taken. This was denied.
Most Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and two Labour members abstained.
Louth County Council last night voted against nominating Mr Nally as a presidential candidate. At a special meeting in Dundalk, eight voted against, seven in favour and there were seven abstentions.
Mr Nally had been proposed by the chairman of the council, Mr Martin Bellew (Ind). A number of Fianna Fail members objected to Mr Nally addressing them after receiving the required support of four county councils. They believed the other four presidential candidates should also have been given the opportunity to address them.
The vote in South Dublin was 10-3 in Mr Nally's favour, with seven abstentions. His support came from a coalition of Independents (3), Democratic Left (3), the Progressive Democrats (2), with one vote each from Labour and the Green Party. The three who voted against were all Oireachtas members: Mr Alan Shatter TD (FG), Mr Sean Ardagh TD (FF) and Senator Anne Ormonde (FF). Other Fianna Fail and Fine Gael members abstained.
The debate was dominated by argument about the centralised nature of Irish politics and the councils' lack of power. Mr Nally's proposer, Mr Guss O'Connell (Ind), claimed the Nally vote had been unwittingly boosted by comments from Mr Shatter on the democratic responsibilities of local authorities. Mr Shatter had said it was inappropriate for councillors to nominate a candidate for whom they did not intend to vote in the presidential election.