Belfast Telegraph

Norris seventh presidential hopeful

The seventh and final candidate for Ireland's presidential election has been nominated after the poll-topper was finally formally selected for the race for the Aras.

Independent Senator David Norris was the last hopeful to get on the ballot box following an eleventh-hour scramble for votes before Dublin City councillors.

Just hours earlier, former Eurovision winner Dana Rosemary Scallon became the sixth candidate to be formally nominated to stand for the presidency.

The pair will now go head to head on October 27 against Fine Gael's Gay Mitchell, Labour's Michael D Higgins, Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness and independent candidates Mary Davis and Sean Gallagher.

Mr Norris - whose campaign has been shrouded in controversy over clemency letters he wrote for an ex-partner convicted of statutory rape - said: "If I can make this kind of comeback, I hope to God as President I'll be able to help the country make the kind of comeback that it and its people deserve."

The deadline for submitting documentation to join the race to be voted Ireland's ninth President is midday on Wednesday.

While Mr Mitchell, Mr Higgins and Mr McGuinness had the firm backing of their parties, the four independents needed to secure the signatures of 20 Oireachtas members or majority support of four county councils each.

Ms Davis, the former head of Special Olympics Europe, and entrepreneur Mr Gallagher - star of Ireland's Dragons' Den - had local authority backing weeks ago.

Offaly County Council joined Donegal, Roscommon and Carlow to officially vote in Dana in the last two days.

She said: "The fact that all of the parties represented on Donegal County Council came together and unanimously gave me the right to go forward on behalf of the people is so much appreciated."

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