Pieta House founder Joan Freeman calls on councils to move on presidential bid

She has written to local authorities asking them to convey a meeting

Pieta House founder Joan Freeman calls on councils to move on presidential bid

Joan Freeman pictured at the launch of the Pieta House flagship fundraiser, Darkness into Light, in 2014 | Image: Image: Sasko Lazarov/PhotocallIreland

The founder and former CEO of Pieta House Joan Freeman has asked county councils to support her nomination for president.

The independent Senator has written to local authorities asking them to convey a meeting so she can ask for their nomination to be president.

This can be done under Section 140 of the Local Government Act 2001.

In a letter, she writes: "I would like to be afforded the opportunity to present to your council with a view to seeking your support by way of a council nomination at the earliest opportunity so that I can assemble a comprehensive campaign to compete in the forthcoming presidential election."

She adds: "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.

"I am therefore requesting that you consider holding a special meeting and consider passing a resolution that your council hear my petition/presentation for a nomination as a candidate for the forthcoming presidential election in advance of the formal presidential order by Government."

President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina at Aras an Uachtarain in Dublin | Image: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

She says council members "will be affording the Irish people with a democratic choice which includes the very valuable input of local
voices and communities."

It comes just a day after Independent Senator Gerard Craughwell withdrew from the presidential race.

He confirmed the decision in a statement, in which he suggested a system that prevents candidates other than the incumbent securing a nomination process is 'profoundly undemocratic'.

While Sinn Féin has previously said it will field a candidate to stand against Michael D Higgins.

Party leader Mary Lou McDonald said a candidate would be put forward in the coming weeks.

Candidates hoping to secure a nomination need at least 20 members of the Oireachtas or at least four local authorities to back their bid.

Any vote is likely to take place in October, alongside the previously announced referendums on blasphemy and the reference to a woman's place in the home.