Former MEP Dana Rosemary Scallon’s bid for the presidency received a boost tonight as she secured the backing of Galway City Council, marking one down but still three to go.
The nomination, won by a majority of seven votes to five, provided a glimmer of hope in an otherwise disappointing day for the former Eurovision winner.
She was proposed by Green Party councillor Niall Ó Brolchain, seconded by Independent Michael J Crowe and supported by both Labour and Sinn Féin.
Ms Scallon said she was unlikely to win the backing of another three local authorities after Kildare, Galway and Donegal county councils all voted against her.
“I am incredibly disappointed but I feel I have done all I can,” she said. “I am frustrated for the people of the country.
“Councillors were publicly forced to change their position. Democracy has suffered because political parties don’t want an election.”
Ms Scallon has just four more days to muster backing from either three more county councils or 20 members of the Oireachtas in order to contest Mary McAleese’s bid for a second consecutive term.
She claims party leaders have gone all-out to block her nomination by issuing strict orders to councillors to toe the party line.
Her bid for a nomination was rejected from numerous councils, including Kerry, Longford and Monaghan, as Fine Gael HQ issued a directive to members not to support her.
Party leader Enda Kenny announced in January he would support Ms McAleese if she chose to run for another seven years in the Áras and recently advised Fine Gael HQ to clarify the position for all party members.
Ms Scallon said she was not surprised her nomination had been blocked, given councillors had been told to toe the party line.
The 54-year-old vowed not to give up until the October 1 deadline and will continue to pursue every avenue.