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Seán Gallagher set to announce he is seeking a nomination to run for president

A number of councillors have already said they will support the former presidential candidate.

Businessman Seán Gallagher is understood to have sown up support from a number of councils already.
Businessman Seán Gallagher is understood to have sown up support from a number of councils already.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

BUSINESSMAN SEÁN GALLAGHER is set to formally announce that he is seeking a nomination to contest the presidential election.

Gallagher, who also ran for the office of president in 2011, said in a statement yesterday that a “formal announcement” about the upcoming presidential election would be made today.

The statement said his intentions would only be made known following the formal signing of the order paper for the 2018 presidential election which was officially signed by Minister Eoghan Murphy yesterday.

Rumours about Gallagher running against Michael D Higgins have been circulating in recent weeks.

In the letter last month, he said councillors from 22 local authorities had been in touch with him to confirm they would be considering the presidential election nomination process at their September meetings.

Securing support 

It is now understood that the former presidential candidate has his ducks lined up, with discussions having already taken place with individual councillors around the country about who they might support.

The Gallagher camp are confident he will secure the nomination of four local authorities. The last time around, the first four councils to formally back Gallagher were Meath and Leitrim County Councils, followed by Clare County Council and Cork City Council.

To be eligible, he must win the backing of 20 members of the Dáil and Seanad, or four full local authorities.

It is understood that a number of councils will begin accepting formal motions of support to be heard as early as Monday of next week. 

Independent Councillor Ger Carthy from Wexford told TheJournal.ie that he has already formally submitted a motion.

I have formally submitted a motion to Wexford County Council requesting that the Council formally nominate Seán Gallagher at our upcoming Council meeting. In the last number of days, along with Seán Gallagher I have been canvassing council colleagues to support my motion.

He added:

In 2011 I campaigned for Seán Gallagher throughout Wexford and it an honour for me to propose him now that I am an elected member of Wexford County Council. From the feedback I have been getting there is a strong ground swell of support for his candidacy.

While both the Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil parliamentary party have said they are supporting Michael D Higgins, Gallagher is understood to have won over the support from some councillors in the establishment parties. 

Kerry Radio reported yesterday that both Fianna Fáil councillors John Joe Culloty and Niall Kelleher intend to support a presidential bid by Gallagher.

Meanwhile, Leitrim-based Fine Gael councillor John McCartin told radio station Ocean FM that he will support Gallagher over Higgins, despite his party’s stance on the issue.

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TheJournal.ie also understands that substantial secret polling carried out by supporters of the businessman over the last number of months show that Gallagher would be the closest contender to the incumbent president.  

The presidential election is to be held on Friday 26 October

Numerous prospective candidates have already declared their intentions to challenge incumbent Michael D Higgins in the coming election, including businessman Gavin Duffy, activist Kevin Sharkey, independent Senator Joan Freeman, and journalist Gemma O’Doherty.

Higgins himself declared his intention to seek re-election in June.

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