Support of councils to put Dana into race
INDEPENDENT presidential candidate Dana Rosemary Scallon is almost certain to get on the ballot paper on October 27 with a number of county councils poised to back her next week.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny's decision to allow Fine Gael councillors to abstain on votes allowing candidates in the race means the way has been opened for Dana to get the four county councils she needs ahead of close of nominations at noon on Wednesday.
It also comes after Sean Gallagher, who already has the backing of four local authorities, withdrew his request for a nomination from surplus councils previously supporting him.
Senator David Norris will also be able to add to the one council he has backing him, Fingal, if he does not achieve the required 20 Oireachtas signatures.
However, his backing among councillors is not as strong as Dana's, and it remains uncertain whether he can achieve the backing from the four councils needed.
Last night, Mr Norris still had 17 TDs and senators backing his nomination. Independent TD Mattie McGrath is expected to announce today whether he will add his name, and Dublin South's Shane Ross is also mulling it over.
Dana's support is mostly coming from Fianna Fail councillors around the country who say they are letting her in the Aras race because the party has no candidate of its own.
However, Fine Gael councillors on these councils say they have yet to finally decide what to do. Many are holding meetings in the next few days to decide whether to support, oppose or abstain on the presidential votes.