Aras race: Dana secures two Councils, Norris loses out
DANA Rosemary Scallon today secured two County Council nominations in her bid to get on the Presidential ballot paper.
She won Carlow and Roscommon while Senator David Norris got the backing of Laois County Council this morning with a 7-4 vote.
She now needs two more councils to pass the post as does Senator Norris.
A second vote in Carlow this afternoon saw councillors opt for Dana over Senator Norris with seven voting in her favour and none against.
Mr Norris also hit a setback when he failed to get the backing of South Dublin County Council.
But the race is by no means over and a further seven county councils are expected to meet tomorrow with further meetings scheduled for later in the week.
Senator Norris had 18 of the 20 nominations he needs from members of the Oireachtas before facing the councils to get on the ticket.
The decision of Independent Mattie McGrath not to back Senator Norris came as a blow as he is unlikely to persuade the last two uncommitted TDs, Michael Lowry or Noel Grealish to come on board.
Earlier today, Limerick backed candidate Mary Davis who already has enough nominations to get on the ballot paper.
Dublin City and Dublin South County Councils have yet to vote and could back Mr Norris.
Mr McGrath today claimed that a fear of further revelations was a major reason why his supporters voted overwhelmingly against supporting the presidential bid of Senator David Norris last night.
"There was a fear that something else might come out which would force him to withdraw again from the campaign," he said, adding that there was also a genuine worry that something could emerge if he was president which would force him to resign.
Mr McGrath said he himself was open to signing the nomination papers for the controversial senator and was trying to persuade people to support him.
"But these people are my eyes and ears on the ground and after a two hour debate and secret ballot, I'm happy that their decision represent the views of the people in South Tipperary," he explained.
Mr McGrath said he and his supporters had treated the issue as a serious business and there was no effort to play games in getting a verdict from his supporters
While the decision dents the senator's hopes of getting the 20 Oireachtas signatures he needs to secure his place on the ballot paper, Mr McGrath said he still believed that both Senator Norris and Dana would get sufficient support to run in the campaign via the council routes.
A number of local authorities are meeting over the coming days to decide if they will back these candidates.