Sligo County Council is set to discuss two motions to endorse candidates for the Presidential Election at a meeting later this month.

Councillors will discuss motions to endorse businessmen Sean Gallagher and Peter Casey when they meet at 9am on Monday 24 September.

Seven people seeking an endorsement for a nomination to contest the Presidential Election addressed a meeting of the council today.

The council heard from Mr Casey and Mr Gallagher, as well as other presidential hopefuls Patrick Feeney, John Groarke, Kevin Sharkey, Gemma O'Doherty and Sarah Louise Mulligan. 

Mr Gallagher, who has already secured a nomination to run, also addressed the meeting.

He said at the outset he wanted to tell councillors that he is not seeking further endorsements, and he was suggesting to councillors who might have been considering a motion to endorse him to feel free to instead advance other candidates.

He told councillors: "Democracy is best served when we have the widest choice of candidates."

He was later criticised by Mr Sharkey, who said he was surprised to see Mr Gallagher in Sligo given that he has a nomination.

"That starts to stink a bit", Mr Sharkey said. However, he added "that's politics and I know how it works".

He said that people need to be given a real choice in the election, not just four businessmen and a senator but a real person with experience of life.

Mr Sharkey began his address to the council by referring to a story in a weekend newspaper about a time he spent working as an "escort" for six weeks.

Speaking in Spanish and then English, Mr Sharkey said when you speak fluent Spanish, you get work, it has nothing to do with sex.

The council also heard from businessman Mr Casey. When asked if he would like to see a united Ireland,  he told councillors that he would.

He said that what he would really like to see is a united Irish.

Mr Casey spoke again about the value of the Irish diaspora and his "proud to be Irish programme" which would see children of Irish abroad coming to Ireland for three weeks and going away "exploding with Irish pride".

Mr Casey said he believed that the President's salary should be less than that of the Taoiseach. He said that the presidential term is too long and it should be five years. 

Mr Casey also said that the election should be held on the same day as the local elections.

Ms O'Doherty said Ireland was suffering from a culture of corruption and clientelism, and she wanted to stand for the presidency to further her desire to service the cause of truth, honesty and integrity.

Ms O’Doherty said that electing a president standing on a platform of anti-corruption would send out a strong message to the world that Ireland is going to take a stand against global corruption.

Ms Mulligan said she would be a pro-life candidate and among her concerns were child abuse, elder abuse and suicide.

She told councillors that she wants to give the young and old a voice.

"The vulnerable people are my people," she said.

Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council Martin Baker wished each of the speakers well. 


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.