Three people seeking a nomination to contest the Presidential Election have addressed a meeting of Kildare County Council.

Yesterday, Independent Senator Joan Freeman and businessman Sean Gallagher secured their nominations to contest the election.

Peter Casey, Sarah Louise Mulligan and Gemma O'Doherty all spoke at the meeting in Naas today.

Mr Gallagher also addressed the meeting, saying he was not looking for a further nomination but wanted to speak to the members because they were the closest elected representatives to the public.

Mr Casey told the meeting that a combination of timing and visiting local schoolchildren in his native Co Donegal were his reasons to choose to run for the Áras.

The businessman spoke about the changing business landscape in the US and spoke of how Ireland needed to be ready to meet that challenge.

Former Irish Independent journalist Gemma O'Doherty gave a history of her working career as a journalist with the Irish Independent and since she had left it, emphasising her work with Maurice McCabe, the murder of Fr Niall Molloy and the penalty points controversy.

She said that she had come to believe that there was an elite in operation in Ireland who believed they could do what they liked, and that corruption was rife.

Ms O’Doherty touched on topics such as the housing crisis, the avoidance of tax, Ireland's position globally, and what she called scandal fatigue syndrome, which she believed Irish people have.

"They see nobody going to jail or losing their job or their pension," she said.

Ms O’Doherty said she was troubled by globalisation and the proliferation of foreign brands in Ireland, referencing in particular farmers who were struggling.

She said she did not think it was too much to expect, as an Irish person, to be able to go into a petrol station and buy an Irish brand sandwich made of Irish bread and with Irish beef or pork in it.

She said that she was concerned about a lack of what she described as the free press in Ireland.

She also described RTÉ as a "voicebox for the Government".

Independent Councillor Morgan McCabe said that many would think that RTÉ was a "voicebox for the left", and that it was a question of opinion.

The final potential candidate to address the meeting was Sarah Louise Mulligan, who at 36 is the youngest person seeking to enter the race.

In a passionate speech she said she wanted to address numerous issues, from child abuse to domestic abuse, elder abuse, suicide and crisis pregnancy.

Ms Mulligan claimed that three quarters of the Irish people knew that the recent referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment was rigged.

She addressed the fact that she is a supporter of US President Donald Trump, and said she was looking down to sitting down with him during his visit - which has since been cancelled - for a chat about Irish undocumented.

Ms Mulligan also said that if legislation for abortion came before her as president she would refer it to the Supreme Court.

As well as Ms Freeman and Mr Gallagher, President Michael D Higgins will also contest the election on 26 October.

The two independent candidates were nominated after a day of bumper council meetings across the country.

Businessman Gavin Duffy, who already has three endorsements, is best placed to secure a nomination, which is expected to happen when Louth County Council votes next Monday.

Sinn Féin will announce its candidate on Sunday, with MEP Liadh Ní Riada remaining the overwhelming favourite to get that nomination.

Cavan-Monaghan TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin will not be going forward for consideration as a potential candidate for the party.

It emerged yesterday that Mr Ó Caoláin had been backed by the party's North-West Cúige as a possible candidate.

That all suggests there will five names set before voters next month.

But with the close of nominations still 15 days away, others will be hoping they can still get the backing of four local authorities to allow them run.


Presidential Election: Tallies

Michael D Higgins: Nominated

Sean Gallagher: Nominated; five endorsements from Roscommon, Mayo, Leitrim, Wexford, Cavan

Joan Freeman: Nominated; four endorsements from Cork City, Fingal, Galway County, Galway City

Gavin Duffy: three endorsements from Meath, Carlow, Wicklow

Seeking endorsements: Peter Casey, William Delaney 1957-1970, Patrick Feeney, John Groarke, Patrick Melly, Marie Goretti Moylan, Sarah Louise Mulligan, Gemma O'Doherty, Kevin Sharkey, James Smyth.