At least five candidates will contest the presidential election next month after two Independent contenders each won the backing of four councils yesterday, with a third Independent on the verge of securing a nomination.

Businessman Seán Gallagher and Senator Joan Freeman both reached the required four council endorsements yesterday , a day in which 13 local authorities nationally debated or voted on presidential nominations.

Sean Gallagher, who finished second in the 2011 election, won nominations from Roscommon, Leitrim, Mayo and Wexford county councils yesterday, with Fianna Fáil councillors backing him heavily.

In Mayo, Mr Gallagher did not even have to make a pitch to councillors yesterday  - they nominated him in his absence. He was just one of the many contenders that were “no shows” at yesterday’s special meeting of Mayo County Council.

The only contender that attended and laid out her stall, Sarah Louise Mulligan failed to secure a nomination from Mayo county councillors.

Independent Senator Joan Freeman yesterday eveningsecured the backing of Galway City Council. 

Earlier in the day she gained the support of Galway County Council and Fingal County Council.  She also has the nomination of Cork City Council since the beginning of this month.

Louth businessman Gavin Duffy also moved closer to securing a nomination yesterday, he got the backing of Carlow County Council. As of last night he had two nominations and with a further endorsement expected from Louth County Council next Monday, his place on the ballot paper is almost assured when nominations close on September 26th.

President Michael D Higgins has already indicated he will seek re-election and Sinn Féin is expected to announce its candidate on September 16th – next Sunday.



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