Sunday 25 February 2018

13 Oireachtas supporters back Norris election bid

David Norris was today joined by a number of his presidential campaign supporters from the Dail and the Seanad who have agreed to sign his nomination papers in September.

The 13 included: Finian McGrath TD, Maureen O'Sullivan TD, Catherine Murphy TD, Mick Wallace TD, Stephen Donnelly TD, Thomas Pringle TD, John Halligan TD, Luke 'Ming' Flanagan TD, Senator John Crown, Senator Sean Barrett, Senator Mary Ann O'Brien, Senator Marie Louise O’Donnell and Senator David Norris himself.

To be eligible to run for the Presidency, Senator Norris must get the backing of four local authorities or 20 members of the Oireachtas.

Yesterday, a newspaper poll put the Senator ahead in the race on 25pc.

But so far he has failed to get the required support from the nation's country councils.

Senator Norris said: "I am delighted to be here with my Oireachtas colleagues today to mark this significant milestone within my presidential campaign," he said.

"I am certain that I will obtain further signatures and my name will be on the ballot paper on October 21st, not only that but I am confident that I will go on to win and become the 9th President of Ireland.

Senator Norris will be working on obtaining the further signatures required during the month of August, when local authorities do not sit and the Oireachtas is in recess.

Then in September, he will once again be targeting local authorities.

The success of Independent of his rivals Mary Davis and Sean Gallagher in securing support from councillors is being put down to intense personal canvassing.

Unlike Independent Senator Norris, Ms Davis and Mr Gallagher are running Seanad-election style campaigns meeting councillors in their homes.

But Mr Norris is simply sending letters, making phone calls and turning up at council meetings.

So far he has only gotten the backing of one local authority, while Ms Davis has six councils and Mr Gallagher five.

Ms Davis continues to travel the country and already has the backing of the councils in Louth, Monaghan, Mayo, Limerick, Kerry and North Tipperary.

Mr Gallagher has support from Longford, Donegal, Roscommon, Clare and Leitrim.

Crucially, both candidates met in person with the local councillors before addressing their meeting.

The latest poll showed Mr Norris on 25pc, followed by Fine Gael's Gay Mitchell on 21pc and Labour's Michael D Higgins on 18pc.

Mr Gallagher was on 13pc and Ms Davis on 12pc in 'The Irish Times'/Ipsos MRBI poll, which also put Fianna Fail's Eamon O Cuiv on 11pc.

The poll also showed 28pc of the voters were undecided and Mr Higgins attracted the most transfers.

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