Four presidential candidates address Kerry County Council

Eclectic mix of candidates make pitch, councillors to make their decision on Monday

Making their pitches: Presidential candidates addressed Kerry County Council on Monday
Making their pitches: Presidential candidates addressed Kerry County Council on Monday

Sinead Kelleher

Kerry County Council will vote next Monday on whether or not to support a Presidential candidate for the forthcoming election.

Local councillors heard from four potential candidates on Monday last at a specially convened meeting of Kerry County Council.

These included Gavin Duffy and Gemma O'Doherty as well as musician and lecturer James Smyth, and Seamus Nolan. Mr Duffy was the first to address Kerry County Council, and he sought its support for his nomination on his 'five-pillar campaign' focused on youth, age, diversity, respect and working together.

He also called for a rail, road and broadband corridor from Kerry to Derry to help build up the west of the country.

He also addressed Cork and Wicklow County Council on Monday. He has already got one of the four required local authority nominations, with Meath County Council confirming its support for the RTÉ Dragons' Den star earlier this week.

The businessman and communications specialist is seen as one of the most likely candidates to receive the necessary four local authority nominations, along with another former Dragons' Den star Sean Gallagher.

Journalist Gemma O'Doherty also addressed the council and said that her campaign would focus on corruption and social disadvantage in Ireland. She received huge support from Cllr Toireasa Ferris.

Through his career in music, James Smyth highlighted how he had been a cultural ambassador for the country for over four decades.

The fourth and final candidate to speak was Seamas Nolan. He has changed his named to 'William Delaney 1957-1970', and in his pitch he focused on people who suffered in State and Church institutions. William Delaney was a young boy when he was sentenced to six years in Letterfrack for stealing bread to feed his hungry family in 1966.

He died in 1970 in the institution after he was hit with a broom handle by a member of the clergy.

The candidate has already stated that he won't take up the position of President but is campaigning on behalf of all those who lost their lives in industrial schools and other institutions.

Aside from Mr Duffy's Meath nomination, the other three potential candidates who addressed Kerry County Council on Monday have yet to receive a nomination from any other council.

Kerry County Council does not have to choose a candidate, but if it does it can be by simple resolution or a majority and can select any one of the presidential candidates. Sean Gallagher is also understood to be popular among Kerry's Fianna Fail councillors including Cllr Niall Kelleher.

In the 2011 race, Kerry County Council supported Mary Davis following a vote on all candidates.

Presidential hopeful Joan Freeman, who got the nod from Cork City Council on Monday, had also been expected to address Kerry County Council but did not do so. She is running on a mental health platform.

The Presidential election will take place on October 26 and nominations must be lodged before September 26.