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Norris's last-ditch effort to get Aras nomination

SENATOR hoping to secure support of three county councils.

SENATOR David Norris is set to make a desperate last-ditch effort to secure a presidential nomination by vying for the support of three more county councils.

The senator was dealt a crushing blow yesterday after Fianna Fail's Oireachtas members decided against the option of allowing for a free vote.

The move was seen by many as the final nail in the coffin for Mr Norris's presidential bid, but he was dealt a lifeline last night after Fingal County Council formally backed him.

The senator now requires the support of three more councils and will today travel to Carlow to meet with councillors there.


His campaign team are also understood to be contacting councillors in Longford and Donegal about securing their backing for the bid.

Carlow County Council will vote on a motion on nominating Mr Norris next Monday and Longford County Council meets tonight.

Independent Carlow County Councillor Walter Lacey has revealed that he plans to second Mr Norris's nomination, which was proposed by Labour councillor William Paton.

"I would be hopeful that the vote will be in favour of Mr Norris and put him on the ballot, he said.

"He is deserving of that and we can let democracy do its bit," he added.

However, there are doubts over whether all three councils will follow Fingal, with fears that a motion to support the bid is "too late" to be included on the agenda of the Donegal County Council next Monday.

It is understood that Mr Norris now has the backing of 11 Oireachtas members after Kildare North TD Catherine Murphy did a U-turn yesterday and pledged her support.

Wicklow TD Stephen Donnelly, who previously had wavering support for Mr Norris, also pledged his support.

And the Herald can reveal that Independent Waterford TD John Halligan is consulting supporters about also signing Mr Norris's nomination papers.

He told the Herald: "I'm talking it over with people close to me. It is under consideration and I will make a final call very shortly. He's an honourable man. I don't agree with the letter he wrote but I have a lot of time for him."

Mr Norris told Ryan Tubridy on Friday's The Late Late Show that he is determined to achieve "the greatest comeback in Irish political history".

The deadline for nominations is next Tuesday, September 27.