THE PRESIDENTIAL HOPES of David Norris and Dana Rosemary Scallon hang in the balance tonight as both lobby for support from 31 independent members of the Oireachtas in the hope of securing the 20 signatures needed to be on the ballot paper.
Neither campaign were prepared to comment today when contacted by TheJournal.ie but it is expected that they will break their silence tomorrow.
Scallon is unlikely to raise enough support to get on the ballot paper and so far she only has the confirmed backing of Tipperary South TD Mattie McGrath, according to RTÉ.
Four independent TDs have ruled themselves out of the nomination process by already backing the bid of Sinn Féin’s candidate Martin McGuinness, they are: Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, Tom Fleming, Michael Healy-Rae and Finian McGrath.
However, Norris, who re-entered the race last week, will retain some hope from the fact that 10 Oireachtas members, including himself, have so far committed to signing his nomination papers.
TheJournal.ie has confirmed that they are:
- Richard Boyd Barrett TD
- Joan Collins TD
- Clare Daly TD
- Joe Higgins TD
- Stephen Donnelly TD
- Catherine Murphy TD
- Maureen O’Sullivan TD
- Mick Wallace TD
- Senator John Crown
- Senator David Norris
Of the others, senators Fiach Mac Conghail and Katherine Zappone have previously indicated their willingness to back Norris prior to him originally pulling out of the race in August.
However, they could not be contacted today to confirm whether or not they still intend to do so.
Independent TDs Séamus Healy and John Halligan were both contacted by TheJournal.ie today but indicated that they had not yet made their decision on who, if anyone, they would nominate.
This was also the case for Senator Rónán Mullen when his office was contacted today.
Donegal South West TD Thomas Pringle has said he will not nominate Norris because of the controversy surrounding the Trinity scholar’s former partner Ezra Nawi, but he has not yet made clear if he intends to nominate anyone.
Senator Jillian van Turnhout told TheJournal.ie this evening she had not been approached by the Norris campaign and that even if she was, she would not nominate him or any other candidate in the race saying she “regretted” that she was not able to use her nomination.
Independent senator Fergal Quinn is supporting independent presidential candidate Seán Gallagher, his office confirmed today. Gallagher has already secured his place on the ballot paper from the support of four county councils.
Meanwhile, Roscommon-South Leitrim TD Denis Naughten, who lost the Fine Gael whip in July, told TheJournal.ie today that he would not be nominating anyone.
Of the remaining independent TDs and Senators – Noel Grealish, Shane Ross, Michael Lowry, Sean C Barrett, Eamon Coghlan, Martin McAleese, Mary Ann O’Brien, and Mary-Louise O’Donnell did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.
Separately Norris received the backing of Fingal County Council today thanking councillors for their support on Twitter.
Prospective presidential candidates can also be nominated to appear on the ballot paper with the backing of four county councils. This route has been pursued successfully by Mary Davis and Seán Gallagher.