Wexford County Council to vote on Norris nomination


MEMBERS OF Wexford County Council will decide on Monday whether to give a nomination to Independent Senator David Norris to run in the presidential election campaign.

Mr Norris has written to all 34 local authorities seeking their support for his campaign but Co Wexford in the first council to take a vote on his nomination.

He needs to be nominated by at least four local authorities, or 20 members of the Oireachtas, in order to be able to stand for the presidency.

The motion to nominate Mr Norris is being tabled by Fianna Fáil councillor Malcolm Byrne, who says it is likely to be supported by his four party colleagues and two Independent members on the 21-member council. However, the fate of the motion is likely to rest with Fine Gael, which has 10 members, and Labour, which has four. Mr Byrne described Mr Norris as a serious, credible candidate with a strong track record in human rights and other areas.

Wexford was one of the councils that nominated Derek Nally as an Independent candidate in the 1997 presidential race.

Mr Norris, who is regarded as the early front runner for the election due to take place in November, is also trying to garner the required support from among Oireachtas members. At present, he enjoys the support of Independent Dublin TD Finian McGrath and at least four other members of the technical group of 19 Independent deputies.

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore said yesterday his party would begin the process of selecting its candidate this month and expected to make a decision before the summer break. Party president Michael D Higgins is vying with Barnardo’s chief executive Fergus Finlay for the nomination.

Within Fine Gael, MEPs Seán Kelly and Mairéad McGuinness have declared their interest in a nomination, but party insiders are not ruling out former taoiseach John Bruton.