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Norris and Dana lobby councils to support their presidential bids

South Dublin County Council is the latest to confirm it will debate a motion to nominate Senator David Norris as both he and Dana Rosemary Scallon lobby for last-minute support.

Dana launching her presidential campaign on Monday.
Dana launching her presidential campaign on Monday.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Updated 21.05

SENATOR DAVID NORRIS and former MEP Dana Rosemary Scallon are making last ditch attempts at being on the ballot paper for the presidential election next month.

Having both seemingly failed to get enough support via the 32 independent members of the Oireachtas, both are now making last-minute pleas to county councils to nominate them, needing the backing of four by 28 September in order to be on the ballot paper.

This evening, TheJournal.ie has learnt that South Dublin County Council has called a meeting for Monday at 5.15pm to debate a motion to nominate Norris. The motion has been backed by more than five county councillors.

In Roscommon, TheJournal.ie understands that there is a motion being put forward to nominate Scallon, as well as a separate motion to nominate Norris at a meeting of the county council on Monday at 2pm.

Yesterday, Norris secured the backing of Fingal County Council and is now seeking support from a number of other councils with motions to nominate him also set to be put forward at council meetings in Carlow, Kilkenny and Laois in the coming days.

Carlow County Council will meet on Monday to debate a motion to nominate David Norris, TheJournal.ie understands.

Meanwhile, Kilkenny County Council will meet this Saturday at midday to debate a motion put forward by Councillor Malcolm Noonan to support Norris, something which one other councillor described as “very surprising” indicating there may be little support for nominating the senator.

RTÉ radio reports that the council will also meet next Monday to debate a motion to nominate Scallon.

FF support

In Laois, Fianna Fáil councillor Brendan Phelan told TheJournal.ie he is proposing that the council nominate David Norris believing “he should be given the opportunity” to run for the presidency.

The motion is on the agenda for meeting of the council on Monday at 11am, along with another motion to support independent candidate Mary Davis, who already has sufficient support to be on the ballot paper.

Longford County Council is to meet tomorrow at 2pm but it is understood that no motion has yet been put forward to nominate anyone at this stage and it is likely that the meeting will be adjourned due to the recent death of a former councillor in the area.

In Offaly, a previous motion to nominate Seán Gallagher has been withdrawn at the request of the candidate who also asked Carlow, Donegal, Longford, Waterford and Roscommon county councils to withdraw their support in order for other candidates to possibly secure the nomination.

One councillor there told TheJournal.ie today that there would “absolutely not” be any motion put forward to nominate Norris or Dana and this was confirmed by the chair Danny Owens this evening.

In a statement issued this evening, Gallagher said he was attempting to show leadership by allowing councils who had already chosen him to nominate another candidate. He has already been nominated by Clare, Cork City, Leitrim and Meath County Councils.

He said: “The emergence of Dana Rosemary Scallon as a potential candidate and the re-emergence of Senator Norris poses questions for the political process.

“I would hope that Mary Davis would follow my lead and constructively assist the two other independent candidates by ensuring that the process is inclusive. I would also appeal to Fine Gael, Sinn Féin and Labour councillors to facilitate other candidates.”

Meanwhile, in the Oireachtas Norris has the best chance of securing the nomination but it appears likely he will fall short of getting the 20 signatures he needs. So far he has 14, including himself.

Waterford’s Independent TD John Halligan announced this evening that he has signed nomination papers for Norris after being “inundated with calls, texts and emails” from constituents urging him to reconsider his decision to withdraw his support.

Independent Senator Fiach Mac Conghail tweeted this afternoon that he has just signed Norris’s nomination papers.

Dana has support from one, four Oireachtas members are nominating Martin McGuinness, one is supporting Seán Gallagher, four TDs and senators have indicated they will not nominate anyone, four have told TheJournal.ie they have made no decision whilst the opinions of the remaining five TDs and Senators are not known.

Earlier: As Dana and Norris’s presidential hopes fade, who’s supporting who?

Earlier: Fianna Fáil not supporting any presidential candidate >

In full: TheJournal.ie’s coverage of the Race for the Áras >

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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