Latest: Peter Casey has secured support from two local councils today meaning he is halfway to getting on the ballot paper for October's presidential election.
The businessman received support from Kerry and Clare County Councils today and will need two more councils to back him to run.
He will be attending Limerick and Tipperary councils tomorrow.
By Anne Lucey in Tralee
Kerry County Council have voted to nominate Peter Casey, the businessman and RTE Dragons' Den star, as a candidate for election to the office of President.
After the meeting, Mr Casey said he was confident of getting the necessary three other councils to allow him to go forward. He also said he was not running to lose and was prepared to spend up to the cap of €750,000.
Some 14 people had contacted the council to request a nomination for the presidency, mayor of Kerry Norma Foley outlined at the start of the proceedings, which saw the council resolve to make a nomination in the first place.
Three nominees were proposed and seconded. Gemma O'Doherty was proposed and seconded by Sinn Féin; William Delaney was proposed by Cllr Brendan Cronin an independent councillor and jointly seconded by Sinn Féin's Robert Beasley and Michael Gleeson (Ind).
Peter Casey was proposed by Fianna Fáil councillor Michael Cahill and seconded by Independent Cllr Johnny Healy-Rae.
Mr Cahill said Peter Casey had already invested in business in Co. Kerry and his programme on attracting the children of Irish emigrants to spend time in the Gaeltacht would be of benefit.
He had major business contacts in the US and Australia and could be “a great ambassador “.
These sentiments were echoed by Cllr J. Healy-Rae.
Mr Casey received strong backing from by Fianna Fáil. Nine of the 10 Fianna Fáil councillors on the 33-member Kerry County Council, including the mayor, voted for Mr Casey.
Mr Casey also received the backing of the independent councillors Johnny and Maura Healy-Rae, Sam Locke and Dan McCarthy, and Fine Gael’s Pat McCarthy.
The eight other Fine Gael councillors abstained from voting.
The move by Sinn Féin to propose Cllr O’Doherty caused surprise in some quarters.
Proposing Ms O’Doherty, Sinn Féin 's Cllr Pat Daly said he wanted to make it clear he would be voting for and canvassing for the party candidate Liadh Ní Riada.
He believed in giving a voice to candidates.
Four people had addressed the council, two weeks ago, and this included Gemma O’Doherty, a woman “who came without a PR company,” Cllr Daly said.
She was a woman fearless and brave in highlighting injustice in her 20 years as a journalist, Cllr Daly said.
“There has been quite a frightening whispering campaign against her,” Cllr Daly a solicitor said.
It reminded him of the whispering campaign from some gardaí against the garda whistleblowers, he said.
Peter Casey was someone he could not support given his backing of Nato, Israel and his criticism of Michael D Higgins visit to Cuba, “while saying he would give a very warm welcome to Donald Trump,” Cllr Daly said.
Cllr Toireasa Ferris of Sinn Féin seconded the nomination of Ms O’Doherty, saying she too was voting for and would be canvassing for Liadh Ni Riada, her party's candidate. “What I am doing here today is to give the electorate as broad a chance as possible,” Ms Ferris said.
Fourteen councillors voted for Mr Casey, three for Gemma O’Doherty (three of the council’s five SF councillors), while William Delaney got four votes. Eleven councillors abstained and one was absent.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mr Casey said he was “absolutely delighted”.
After Donegal, Kerry was very dear to him and its young people were leaving and not coming back.
There wasn’t a single person who did not have a son or daughter or relative who had to emigrate from rural Ireland, he said.
He said he believes in small businesses and rural Ireland wasn’t getting the infrastructure it needed to support young people returning home to work.
He also wanted a five-year term and a change in screening for candidates – with each presidential candidate needing the consent of 50 councillors before being allowed to address a meeting.
Asked why so many dragons were running, Mr Casey said: “It’s absolutely bizarre.”
Gavin Duffy had been “a big surprise,” he said.