Monday 24 July 2017

Future elections and public roles on the cards for defeated six

What next . . .

Fiach Kelly

YOU definitely haven't seen the last of them.

The six defeated presidential candidates are unlikely to completely step away from public life once the dust settles on the presidential election.

Independent candidate Sean Gallagher has already left the door open on returning to politics, having fallen at the last hurdle in the race for the Aras.

There were some suggestions that he was running for president to boost his profile ahead of a future Dail run, possibly with Fianna Fail.

But Donal Geoghegan, the former Green Party general secretary and adviser to John Gormley when he was in Government, said Mr Gallagher would likely return to his business interests first. But speaking last night, Mr Gallagher did not rule out furthering a career in politics.

"Tonight may not be the night to be making decisions about running for anything. Tonight is a night for reflecting on the campaign but mostly it is about celebrating our ninth president, Michael D Higgins," he said. "It'll be back to bed for a day or two to rest after an enduring campaign."

However, he will not be returning to his role on television's 'Dragon's Den', which he pulled out of in February. The company behind the show said it was moving on.

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness took a leave of absence from his position as the North's Deputy First Minister to run for the Aras, and will return to Stormont in the coming weeks.

"I'll now go back to my work in the power-sharing executive," Mr McGuinness said last night, before pointing out he is the longest serving sitting government minister on the North-South Ministerial Council, the cross-border body. "My political career is far from over, I have a lot of work to do and I will go about that with the same energy and gusto that I engaged in the campaign.

"Sinn Fein is an all-island party that's going from strength to strength and we will continue that onward march and incrementally building over what we have achieved over the last 30 years and building on the result that has come out of this election."

After admitting the presidential campaign had been hugely disappointing for her, Dana Rosemary Scallon's campaign staff last night dropped heavy hints that she would run for office again in the near future.

John O'Keeffe said he would be surprised if the former MEP and Eurovision winner didn't stand for election again, and said she would make her intentions known early in the new year.

The European elections in 2012 are the most likely option but, in the meantime, she will return to her record business in America but will take a break until Christmas

"I'd be surprised if we've seen the last of Dana in public life, the message is very important to her," Mr O'Keeffe said.

It had already been speculated that Dana may run in the European elections to try and regain the seat she won in 1999.

She held the seat for Connacht-Ulster between 1999 and 2004, when she lost her re-election bid. The constituency has been renamed Ireland North-West. However, Mr O'Keeffe could not confirm if this was what she intended to do.

Speaking at the count centre last night, Dana said: "I'm just going to sit down and put my feet up for a few days and we'll see what happens then."

Mr Norris's camp said he had not yet thought about what he would do, but he still had his Trinity College Seanad seat, having been re-elected earlier this year. "Well, we haven't spoken to him about that," said Liam McCabe, Mr Norris's campaign manager.

Mary Davis took leave from her position as managing director of Special Olympics Europe-Eurasia to run for election and is likely to return to her post in the coming weeks.

"She took a leave of absence from the position, and that's up in two weeks," Ms Davis's spokeswoman said last night. "She'll probably take at least a week to wind down from the campaign."

Gay Mitchell will return to his day job as a Dublin MEP, but is likely to take a short holiday first. "Well, he still has three years left on his term, so he'll return to the European Parliament," a Fine Gael spokesman said.

Mr Mitchell declined to comment when approached at the count centre in Dublin Castle last night. Clearly devastated by his performance, Mr Mitchell slipped in quietly as Michael D Higgins was being applauded and left soon after.

Irish Independent

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