Monday 10 December 2018

Gemma O'Doherty receives first nomination to contest upcoming Presidential Election from Laois - but misses out in Cork

Journalist Gemma O’Doherty. Picture: Mark Condren
Journalist Gemma O’Doherty. Picture: Mark Condren

Ralph Riegel and Denise Calnan

Presidential campaign hopeful Gemma O'Doherty has been formally endorsed by Laois County Council to contest the upcoming election.

The county council were the first to nominate the investigative journalist.

However, she was defeated in her bid to seek a nomination from Cork County Council for the presidency campaign.

Ms O'Doherty had her bid for a nomination rejected by 28 votes to five with six abstentions.

She did not attend the council meeting.

Ms O'Doherty was proposed by Councillor Diarmaid O'Cadhla and was seconded by Councillor Kieran McCarthy.

Councillor O'Cadhla said he was supporting the nomination in the interests of democracy and to ensure the widest possible ballot paper in October for the Presidential election.

"I would ask people to abstain rather than vote against this nomination. We should use our ability to nominate a candidate," he said.

Councillor O'Cadhla said he believed that opposing such a nomination was "an offence to democracy."

Councillor McCarthy, who is also an Independent member of the council, urged people who didn't support Ms O'Doherty to abstain rather than vote against her nomination.

"If people do not support Gemma O'Doherty they should at least abstain," he said.

The motion went to a full vote of council at the direction of Deputy Cork County Mayor, Councillor Seamas McGrath.

One council member proposed that the authority agree to nominate no one for the Presidential election.

In the vote, Ms O'Doherty secured the support of five councillors, all of whom were Independents.

However, her nomination was opposed by 28 councillors, the majority from Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour.

Six councillors abstained at the meeting.

A total of 16 councillors from the 55-member body were not present for the vote.

The vote came after Cork City Council had voted earlier this month to nominate Senator Joan Freeman, the founder of Pieta House, for the October Presidential election.

In Laois, Ms O'Doherty was one of three people who made a presentation to the council last week, including Sarah Louise Mulligan and Sean Gallagher.

Writing on Facebook after her endorsement, Ms O'Doherty said; "I am really grateful to Cllr Ben Brennan for all of the work he has put into this.

"And to Sinn Fein’s Aidan Mullins for his backing.

"Your support on this journey has strengthened my resolve daily. I need it in the next two days more than ever, so please get on the phone/email/Twitter/Facebook and let the politicians know what you want.

"Elections are coming. Local and national. We are in a period of huge transition in Ireland.

"But that change must be a force for good where we create a country where government is accountable to the people and the people alone.

"We will create an Ireland we can be proud of and one that sends a message to the rest of the world: that the Irish are taking a stand against corruption in all of its guises for once and for all."

Ms O’Doherty still requires the support of three more councils to get on the ticket.

The race so far includes Sean Gallagher, Gavin Duffy, Joan Freeman, Peter Casey, Liadh Ni Riada, with President Michael D Higgins widely expected to throw his name into the ring on Wednesday.

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