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Special Olympics Ireland head Mary Davis pictured with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in March. Davis is seeking an independent nomination to contest the Presidency. Leon Farrell
Race for the Áras

Special Olympics chief Mary Davis announces presidential bid

The managing director of Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia says she will seek the nomination of four councils to run in October.

THE FORMER CEO of Special Olympics Ireland, Mary Davis, has announced her intention to seek a nomination to run in this autumn’s Presidential Election.

Davis, who was instrumental in bringing the Special Olympics World Games to Ireland in 2003 and who is now the managing director of Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia, made the announcement at a press conference at the National Library this morning.

Davis, 56, said she had written to every county and city councillor in the county to seek their support.

The theme of Davis’s campaign will be that if Ireland can “harness the sum of our people’s talents, we are unstoppable as a nation”.

“Ireland needs a President who can represent us abroad, and present our country’s unique strengths to the world,” Davis said in a video posted to her campaign website.

“I have seen at first-hand the extraordinary energies that exist in communities all over Ireland… I’ve seen the potential all of us have when we believe in ourselves, to overcome difficulties and create our own opportunities.”

Aside from her work in the Special Olympics, Mayo native Davis is the chairperson of the national taskforce on Active Citizenship and of the North-South Consultative Conference for the Irish Government.

In 2004 she was appointed by the current president, Mary McAleese, to the Council of State – a body mostly made up of former presidents and taoisigh and senior judges, which offers advice to the president on the constitutionality of Bills referred to it.

The Irish Times quotes how Davis said her campaign would be funded through an “Obama-style” model of internet donations and local fundraising. Her campaign literature also bears a heavy influence from Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential election campaign.

Her declaration brings to three the number of candidates who are actively seeking the nominations of local councils to run.

Other candidates seeking nomination through similar means are Senator David Norris, who has already secured the promised support of Fingal County Council, and current Dragons’ Den investor Seán Gallagher.

Both Fine Gael and Labour are to choose their party’s candidates by the end of June, while Fianna Fáil is still yet to decide whether it will run a candidate in October’s election to succeed Mary McAleese.

Sinn Féin, for which the Presidential election would be the third election campaign in eight months, is thought not to be interested in putting forward a candidate.