South Dublin to decide on Norris nomination

Wednesday 19 October 2011 15.14
David Norris now has 14 declared nominations
David Norris now has 14 declared nominations

South Dublin County Council has become the latest local authority to meet on Monday to decide whether to nominate David Norris as a Presidential candidate.

Independent TD for Waterford John Halligan tonight signed the papers of Senator Norris, bringing to 14 the number of Oireachtas members backing him.

As well as Fine Gael’s Gay Mitchell, Labour’s Michael D Higgins and Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, Independents Mary Davis and Sean Gallagher are comfortably over the line and will contest the presidential election next month.

But David Norris and Dana Rosemary Scallons efforts to get the support of four local authorities or 20 Oireachtas members continue.

Senator Norris's chances were boosted by the return to the fold of Deputy Halligan who had earlier deserted him after the controversy that forced him to quit the contest during the Summer.

"In recent weeks I have been absolutely inundated with calls, texts and emails from constituents urging me to reconsider my decision to withdraw support from Mr Norris' campaign," Deputy Halligan stated.

"Such an outpouring of public sentiment from the very people who elected me cannot go ignored.

"Hence, after consulting with my supporters in Waterford, I have decided to support David Norris in his democratic right to stand for the Presidency."

At least four local authorities – Kilkenny, Roscommon, Carlow and South Dublin - will now meet on Monday to decide who they will back.

Other councils too are likely to meet and at least one is likely to join Fingal County Council in backing Senator Norris.

Meanwhile, there are indications that Donegal County Council may swing behind Dana after it emerged that Fianna Fáil members have secured a special meeting of the council on Tuesday.

Senator Fiach Mac Conghail signed the papers of Mr Norris today.

In a statement on his Twitter account, Senator Mac Conghail said "the nomination process is archaic and needs reform".

Independent Senator Katherine Zappone announced earlier that she would be nominating Mr Norris.

In a statement, Senator Zappone said that she would be voting for Michael D Higgins as he was "quintessentially Irish" and would represent the Republic "in the way we need it most at this time".

However, after receiving written assurances from Senator Norris that no other issues would emerge from his past that could derail his campaign, she was nominating him in order "to benefit the democratic process".

People Before Profit Alliance TD Richard Boyd Barrett yesterday signed Senator Norris's nomination papers.

The Oireachtas members nominating Mr Norris are: TDs Stephen Donnelly, Catherine Murphy, Maureen O'Sullivan, Mick Wallace, Joan Collins, Joe Higgins, Clare Daly, John Halligan and Mr Boyd Barrett, as well as Ms Zappone and Senators John Crown, Fiach Mac Conghail and Seán Barrett.

As a Senator, Mr Norris has also nominated himself.

Four Independent TDs and Senators have said they will not be nominating anyone, while six are committed to other candidates.

That leaves eight Independents who are so far undecided or have not indicated their position.

They are TDs Michael Lowry, Thomas Pringle, Shane Ross and Seamus Healy and Senators Rónán Mullen, Mary Ann O'Brien, Maire Louise O'Donnell and Eamonn Coghlan.

Nominations close next Wednesday

The closing date for nominations is next Wednesday 28 September.

Five local authorities had seemed likely to nominate Independent Seán Gallagher for the election.

However, he asked them to withdraw his name as he had already secured the four required council nominations.

They are Carlow, Donegal, Longford, Offaly and Roscommon.

A spokesman for Mr Gallagher said he asked them to withdraw his name because he did not want to make it more difficult for other candidates to secure nominations.