OFFALY County Council gave Dana Rosemary Scallon the final backing she needed to enter the Presidential election race yesterday afternoon (Tuesday).
At a specially convened meeting councillors voted by twelve to six, with three absent, in favour of the former Eurovision winner.
In his motion proposing Dana, Cllr Johnny Butterfield launched a scathing attack on the national media and RTE in particular for “their bias in favour of one potential candidate, Senator David Norris, who over the last month has featured in most every new bulletin and current affairs programme as if there were no others.”
He said it was obvious from the Senator’s appearance on the Late Late Show, “he knew the questions in advance and had the answers well rehearsed.”
Cllr Butterfield, whose motion was seconded by Cllr John Foley, said this Presidential election will offer people the greatest choice of candidates ever. He said in proposing Dana he did so ‘happy in the knowledge that our people will discern the most suitable person, that our country can look up to and be proud of both at home and abroad’.
“It is quite clear that there is a great groundswell of support for Dana and the things she stands for. The killing of thousands of unborn children is one of the greatest crimes of our age. Ms Scallon has never hidden her opposition to this,” he said.
Cllr Tommy McKeigue described Offaly County Council as ‘a last port of call’ for some of the Presidential candidates, saying they were only interested in their support ‘at the 12th hour’.
He said he would be supporting Fine Gael candidate Gay Mitchell and Cathaoirleach Danny Owens ruled that this was out of order as there was only one motion on the agenda.
Cllr Noel Bourke said while he would support the motion, his vote would go to Mary Davis, a candidate whom he described as ‘best able to carry on the work of Mary McAleese and Mary Robinson’.
“I’m disappointed that none of the candidates saw fit to formally address the chamber of Offaly County Council,” said Cllr Dervill Dolan.
Cathaoirleach Danny Owens said a joint decision had been taken by the council executive and CPG members not to receive any representations in the chamber from Presidential candidates.
Cllrs Bourke, Butterfield, Eamon Dooley, Sinead Dooley, Eddie Fitzpatrick, Foley, John Leahy, Sinead Moylan Ryan, Peter Ormond, Owens and Ger Plunkett voted in favour of the motion, while Cllrs Molly Buckley, Percy Clendennen, Dolan, McKeigue and Liam Quinn voted against. Cllrs Tony McLoughlin, Nichola Hogan and Paddy Rowland were absent.