Gemma O’Doherty fails to secure enough county councils to contest presidential race

Latest: Journalist Gemma O’Doherty has failed to secure the required number of county councils to contest the presidential race.

She secured her first nomination on Monday from Laois County Council, but failed to get a nomination from Cork County Council after the majority of members voted against supporting her.

Galway County Council unanimously endorsed the candidacy of Senator Joan Freeman, meaning Ms O’Doherty had run out of opportunities with councils as only two were left to vote on Monday.

Later, Kildare County Council also voted not to nominate a candidate. Mrs O'Doherty got one vote, Sarah Louise Mulligan got two votes and there were 22 in favour of no nomination.

Candidates must have endorsement from four councils to be included in the election.

The only option left for Ms O’Doherty to contest the race is to receive backing from Oireachtas  members.

Ms O’Doherty has said she is in discussions with a group of Independent TDs and Senators, and hopes she can receive their support for a nomination.

Candidates need the backing of at least 20 of the 23 Independent TDs and 14 Independent senators to be nominated.

Ms O’Doherty is running on an anti-corruption platform and has been described as a divisive figure in the media.

Recent comments that she believes journalist Veronica Guerin was murdered not by criminals but by the state, angered Ms Guerin’s family.

Last week she was criticised by a Limerick TD over her comments about a “crime epidemic” in the county.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan said the comments were “lazy” and “ignorant”.

There are currently six candidates running for election on October 26.

Current president Michael D Higgins, Sean Gallagher, Joan Freeman, Gavin Duffy, Liadh Ni Riada and Peter Casey are all in the race.

- Press Association

Earlier: Gemma O'Doherty has received her first endorsement for the Presidency after being backed by Laois County Council this morning.

However, the journalist faces an uphill battle to get on the ballot through the councils as she needs the backing of three more local authorities with Donegal, Kildare and Galway left to vote.

However, she failed to get a nomination from Cork County Council to contest the Presidential Election after the majority of its members voted against supporting her candidacy.

Cllr Diarmaid Ó Cadhla (Ind) proposed her nomination and told colleagues that it didn't matter whether they agreed with her views or not, because it was vital that the electorate had a right to a wide choice of candidates.

He urged any councillors thinking of voting against her to instead abstain because the county council hadn't nominated a candidate to date and should do so.

His motion was seconded by Cllr Kieran McCarthy, also an Independent, who said nominating Ms O'Doherty would add another candidate to the field, thus giving the people more choice.

However, another Independent, Cllr Tim Collins, suggested the council shouldn't nominate anybody.

Ms O'Doherty's nomination was defeated with 28 votes against to five for and six abstentions.

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So far, six candidates will be running for election on October 26.

They are Michael D Higgins, Sean Gallagher, Joan Freeman, Gavin Duffy, Liadh Ni Riada and Peter Casey.

Reporting by Digital Desk and Sean O'Riordan

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