SENATOR DAVID NORRIS’S hopes of securing a slot on the ballot paper for next month’s presidential election will today turn to the county councils, after Independent TD Mattie McGrath all but ended his hopes of an Oireachtas nomination.
McGrath said last night he would not be lending his signature to Norris’s nomination forms, after hold a meeting of his constituency and electoral staff in Co Tipperary.
Of the 70 or so people who had attended the meeting, McGrath told RTÉ, around three-quarters had voted to suggest that McGrath not back Norris’s papers.
With the support of 18 Oireachtas members already secured, Norris is still two short of the 20 needed to secure his nomination through those means – with only one TD, Michael Lowry, yet to show his hand.
Lowry had been reportedly willing only to support a nominee if they had already secured 19 nominations.
Some of yesterday’s newspapers suggested that Senator Martin McAleese, who had otherwise indicated a desire not to nominate any candidate, may yet be willing to offer a nomination, in order to avoid a position where a popular candidate was denied the chance to run.
Other independent members of the Oireachtas have either already ruled out nominating Norris, or have said they will not be nominating any candidate.
For the moment, however, the hopes of Norris and of fellow independent hopeful Dana will turn to Ireland’s local authorities – many of whom are to meet in the coming two days in order to decide upon potential nominations of their own.
County Councils in Laois, Carlow, Roscommon and South Dublin are all due to meet today, with the councils of Laois and South Dublin set to vote on motions offering a formal nomination to Norris.
Dana is likely to be supported by Roscommon County Council, giving her the first of the four nominations she needs to secure a place on the ballot paper.
Norris already has the support of one county council, Fingal. Seven more councils are due to meet tomorrow, when both independents are expected to secure their place in October 27′s presidential election.
Nominations for the election close at noon on Wednesday.