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Duffy 'relieved' as he secures place on ballot paper for presidency

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Presidential candidate Gavin Duffy and his wife Orlaith after he secured the nomination of Wicklow County Council

Presidential candidate Gavin Duffy and his wife Orlaith after he secured the nomination of Wicklow County Council

Presidential candidate Gavin Duffy and his wife Orlaith after he secured the nomination of Wicklow County Council

Businessman and former Dragons' Den judge Gavin Duffy has said he is "relieved" to have secured the final endorsement to allow him to run for the presidency.

The independent candidate was speaking after Waterford City and County Council voted to place him on the ballot paper, adding to the endorsements he had already received from councils in Carlow, Wicklow and Meath.

He joins Senator Joan Freeman, businessman Sean Gall- agher, President Michael D Higgins and an as yet unnamed Sinn Fein candidate in the election, while a number of councils have yet to vote on the matter, which could yield more runners.

Endorsement

Five hopefuls addressed the council in Dungarvan, Co Waterford, yesterday, including Mr Gallagher, who had already secured his nomination. He asked members not to put him forward for another endorsement.

Four other can- didates had spoken to the council when they met in July.

The only other candidate to be proposed and seconded in Waterford was journalist Gemma O'Doherty, who was backed by independent councillors Sean Reinhardt and Joe Kelly.

Mr Duffy won the endorsement by 14 votes to two, with members of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour all supporting him.

Sinn Fein councillor John Hearne abstained and there were some absentees.

"On one level I am so relieved to have crossed the line in achieving the nomination," Mr Duffy said after the vote.

"I am also very humbled to get that support from right across the chamber."

Now that he has the required four council endorsements, he said he will not be asking any other council for support and will instead be asking them to back a different candidate.

"I have spoken to about 450 councillors around the country, and the amount of work, effort and time that you put in - I think it's a shame, it's a secret to the broader world out there, the amount of work you do," he said.

Earlier, Waterford councillors were addressed by former Dragon Peter Casey, as well as Ms O'Doherty, Sarah Louise Mulligan and Newry-based businessman John O'Hare, who entered the race on Thursday.

Ms O'Doherty told the councillors she was seeking a nomination "in the furtherance of my desire to serve the cause of truth, justice and integrity for and on behalf of the Irish people".

Corruption

She claimed the country is suffering from a culture of "corruption and clientelism, which is having a deeply damaging effect on democracy and on the relationship between politicians and citizens".

Ms O'Doherty highlighted issues including housing, healthcare, a free press and corruption as ones that are important to her.

"The previous incumbents and the current president have been members of the elite that have brought our country to its knees time and again," she said.

"I believe the previous incumbents and the current president have not pushed the presidency to the limits they can.

"Their job is to be on the side of citizens and highlighting the needs of our people."


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