Seven councillors to back Sean Gallagher's presidential bid

Seven councillors to back Sean Gallagher's presidential bid
Sean Gallagher

Two Fianna Fáil councillors and another from Fine Gael are set to ignore Micheal Martin and Leo Varadkar's calls to support Michael D Higgins' re-election campaign by publicly backing Sean Gallagher's presidential bid.

The Irish Examiner understands Fianna Fáil councillors Niall Kelleher and Wayne Harding, from Kerry and Meath, and Fine Gael councillor John McCartin, from Leitrim, will officially announce their support for Mr Gallagher in the coming days.

They will be followed by at least four other Independent councillors - Tony Ward from Roscommon, Michael O'Brien from Westmeath, Ger Carthy from Wexford and James Kelly from Laois - who have also privately told Mr Gallagher's supporters they will back his Aras bid.

And, while the 2011 election runner-up has yet to formally enter the race, the fact seven councillors including three members of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are now backing his candidacy has been seen as a major boost to his potential campaign.

Although Mr Martin and Mr Varadkar have allowed Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael party members a free vote on nominations, it had been expected that the majority of elected politicians would officially row in behind Mr Higgins' re-election campaign.

However, the decision by Mr Kelleher, Mr Harding and Mr McCartin to instead back Mr Gallagher has been seen as proof of a wider questioning of the re-election bid by grassroots party members.

As previously reported by the Irish Examiner on Wednesday, close associates of Mr Gallagher have been in regular contact with a "coalition of councillors" in recent weeks in order to ensure support for his now likely candidacy.

This, his supporters believe, is because focusing on key councils and councillors in those local authorities may prove crucial in obtaining the backing of four local authorities needed to become an official presidential candidate next month.

In the 2011 presidential race, Mr Gallagher was nominated by Cork city council, Clare county council, Leitrim county council and Meath county council, before asking other councils which had hinted at support to facilitate other candidates to contest the election.

More on this topic

Over €40k donated to President Higgins' election campaignOver €40k donated to President Higgins' election campaign

Four defeated Presidential election candidates nursing losses of between €150,000 and €253,000Four defeated Presidential election candidates nursing losses of between €150,000 and €253,000

Joe Biden defends behaviour towards womenJoe Biden defends behaviour towards women

Higgins spent €1.7m on hospitality during first termHiggins spent €1.7m on hospitality during first term


More in this Section

President Higgins and Defence Minister evacuated from hotel in Lebanese capitalPresident Higgins and Defence Minister evacuated from hotel in Lebanese capital

Gardaí appeal for help in search for missing man in GalwayGardaí appeal for help in search for missing man in Galway

Probe launched as Fianna Fail TD claims colleague voted for him in DailProbe launched as Fianna Fail TD claims colleague voted for him in Dail

Taoiseach: All 27 EU states will need to approve any Brexit extension requestsTaoiseach: All 27 EU states will need to approve any Brexit extension requests


Lifestyle

Ovarian cancer has been dubbed ‘the silent killer’. Christina Henry tells Rowena Walsh why she is one of the lucky onesAgeing with attitude: Life after ovarian cancer

More From The Irish Examiner