16 Aug 2022

Carlow's local authority likely to hold presidential nominee meeting in mid-August

Senator Joan Freeman has contacted the Council about pitching for its members' support

President Michael D Higgins

President Michael D Higgins has already announced his intention to run again

Carlow's local authority is likely to hold a presidential nominee meeting in mid-August, but formal nominations won't be made until after the presidential election order is made. 

A presidential election is expected to be held in October if candidates receive the backing of 20 or more Oireachtas members or four or more local authorities.

President Michael D Higgins recently confirmed his intention to seek a second term in Arás an Uachtaráin. As the office holder, he does not need to be nominated by Oireachtas members or councils.

Cllr John Pender raised the matter at this month's meeting of Carlow Muncipal District and asked about listening to the prospective candidates. 

He highlighted that Carlow County Council had nominated Dana Rosemary Scallon in the 2011 presidential election and Derek Nally in 1997. 

Director of Services at the local authority, Eamonn Brophy, said the Council can't nominate anybody before the presidential order is made and as a result, the formal nomination would therefore likely take place at the September meeting. 

However, he said he was in continuous discussions with the Cathaoirleach, Cllr Brian O'Donoghue, and they had considered allowing prospective candidates make presentations to the local authority members at a special meeting in mid-August.

Mr Brophy added that they had received a number of applications for support, including from Senator Joan Freeman, and the rest were "random individuals from across the world". 

In her letter to local authorities, Senator Freeman highlighted that candidates cannot formally be nominated by the Council until the Presidential Order is passed by the Minister and in "2011 that Order wasn’t passed until 30th August 2011". 

She added: "The practical effect is that, in the anticipation of such an Order, prospective candidates’ hands are tied by the Government in progressing individual campaigns to compete in the Presidential race.

"Without an indication of support from Councils it will prove extremely difficult to raise the necessary finance and put in place adequate personnel to establish campaign plans were candidates forced to wait until the 10th September."

Members of Carlow County Council were warned that they can only nominate one person to be a candidate and there would need to be procedural arrangements in place. 

One suggestion from Mr Brophy was that if three candidates were to be considered, the names would be put in a hat, the first one voted in would be formally nominated by the Council and then the members don't vote on any others. 

Other local authorities have published ads in papers highlighting a specific date for candidates to come to them and make a presentation, all on the one day. 

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