Dana appeals to Martin over vote
Former Eurovision winner Dana Rosemary Scallon has heaped pressure on Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin to allow TDs and Senators a free vote on nominations for the Presidency.
As she formally entered the campaign, the former MEP said she has approached independents and Fianna Fail members for support, but would not reveal how many are behind her to secure a nomination.
She needs at least 20 TDs or Senators ahead of the September 28 deadline to get on the ballot paper.
Dana said Fianna Fail members should be allowed a free vote.
"I know that there is a desire among grass roots, not just them (Fianna Fail) but the grass roots of all the parties, that they have a choice, that they have an open choice," she said.
"I do ask that they would, as Oireachtas members, exercise that constitutional right."
The Fianna Fail parliamentary party is due to meet amid a row between Mr Martin and his deputy Eamon O'Cuiv over the party's position on the presidency.
Although the party had decided not to field a candidate in the October 27 poll, Fianna Fail Senator Labhras O Murchu wants to stand as an independent candidate with Fianna Fail support.
Dana said the election should not be known as a "what if" election, and urged those who do not agree with what she has to say to allow her the right to express her views.
"As nominations close on September 28, I am calling on those members of the Oireachtas to grant me a nomination, so that the people of Ireland can decide," she said.