Monday 19 November 2018

'Darkness into Light' campaign founder seeks nomination for the Áras

Senator Joan Freeman. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Senator Joan Freeman. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Independent Senator and Pieta House founder Joan Freeman is seeking a nomination to campaign to become the next president.

Ms Freeman, a prominent mental health campaigner, yesterday confirmed she is actively seeking a nomination to succeed Michael D Higgins.

"I have been speaking to some people but that is exactly all I have done," she said.

Ms Freeman was also instrumental in the establishment of the internationally renowned Darkness into Light campaign .

It has also emerged two Independent senators campaigning to be on the ticket for the presidential race are considering a vote pact to ensure an election takes place in October.

Meanwhile, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has revealed he is meeting members to discuss backing a candidate for the election.

"My instinct is always to run for elections or try and get someone to run for elections," Mr Ryan told Independent.ie's 'Floating Voter' podcast.

This week, Independent senators Gerard Craughwell and Pádraig Ó Céidigh are understood to have discussed a strategy which would see an Independent candidate nominated by TDs and senators.

Sources close to both senators said they are willing to consider a deal that would see one of them nominated as a candidate to run against Mr Higgins, who is expected to seek a second term.

The strategy would see both senators compete for votes among senators and TDs. However, whoever had least votes would ultimately withdraw from the race and allow the other contender, with the most votes, to take the Oireachtas nomination.

The unsuccessful senator would then seek a nomination from the country's local authority councillors.

Independents eager for an election are concerned there are not enough votes in the Oireachtas to ensure there is a vote after Mr Higgins makes his intentions known.

If Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil decide to back Mr Higgins for a second term, it would be difficult for other candidates to receive a nomination from the Oireachtas. Mr Craughwell and Mr Ó Céidigh this week discussed carving up the Oireachtas votes between them to ensure at least one of them is nominated to compete against the sitting president.

Roscommon-Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice has decided not to compete but will work to ensure there is an Independent candidate.

Irish Independent

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