Monday 10 December 2018

O’Doherty fails to secure enough county councils to contest presidential race

Candidates must have endorsement from four councils to be included in the election.

Gemma O’Doherty failed to secure enough county council nominations (Brian Lawless/PA)
Gemma O’Doherty failed to secure enough county council nominations (Brian Lawless/PA)

By Aoife Moore, Press Association

Journalist Gemma O’Doherty has failed to secure the required number of county councils to contest the presidential race.

The former Irish Independent reporter secured her first nomination on Monday from Laois County Council, but failed to get a nomination from Cork County Council after the majority of members voted against supporting her.

Her name was the only one to be put before councillors at the council’s fortnightly meeting.

Independent councillor Diarmaid O Cadhla proposed Ms O’Doherty’s nomination and told colleagues that regardless of whether they agreed with her views, it was vital that the electorate had a wide choice of candidates.

He urged any councillors thinking of voting against her to instead abstain, because the county council had not nominated a candidate to date and should do so.

Five councillors voted for Ms O’Doherty with 28 against and six abstentions.

Galway County Council unanimously endorsed the candidacy of Senator Joan Freeman, meaning Ms O’Doherty had run out of opportunities with councils as only two were left to vote on Monday.

Candidates must have endorsement from four councils to be included in the election.

The only option left for Ms O’Doherty to contest the race is to receive backing from Oireachtas  members.

Ms O’Doherty has said she is in discussions with a group of Independent TDs and Senators, and hopes she can receive their support for a nomination.

Candidates need the backing of at least 20 of the 23 Independent TDs and 14 Independent senators to be nominated.

Ms O’Doherty is running on an anti-corruption platform and has been described as a divisive figure in the media.

Recent comments that she believes journalist Veronica Guerin was murdered not by criminals but by the state, angered Ms Guerin’s family.

Last week she was criticised by a Limerick TD over her comments about a “crime epidemic” in the county.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan said the comments were “lazy” and “ignorant”.

There are currently six candidates running for election on October 26.

Current president Michael D Higgins, Sean Gallagher, Joan Freeman, Gavin Duffy, Liadh Ni Riada and Peter Casey are all in the race.

Press Association

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