Gavin Duffy gets coun­cil nom­i­na­tion for Pres­i­den­tial bid

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - NEWS - By MYLES BUCHANAN

BUSINESSMAN Gavin Duffy re­ceived the nom­i­na­tion of Wick­low County Coun­cil to con­test the Pres­i­den­tial elec­tion af­ter Sen­a­tor Joan Free­man with­drew hav­ing al­ready re­ceived the four nom­i­na­tions she re­quired.

A spe­cial meet­ing of Wick­low County Coun­cil was held on Mon­day evening with Dragon’s Den star Gavin Duffy and Sen­a­tor Free­man, the founder of Pi­eta House, the two can­di­dates pro­posed. Both Pres­i­den­tial hope­fuls had out­lined their goals at a county coun­cil meet­ing held the pre­vi­ous Mon­day.

Cllr Christo­pher Fox pro­posed Mr Duffy and was sec­onded by Cllr Jim Ruttle.

Cllr Fox stressed how im­por­tant he felt it was for coun­cil­lors to pro­vide the elec­torate with dif­fer­ent vot­ing op­tions.

‘In my mind, I feel there should be as wide a choice on the bal­lot pa­per as pos­si­ble. We need to vote for one or other of the pro­posed can­di­dates and give them the op­por­tu­nity. It would be dis­ap­point­ing if mem­bers de­cided to ab­stain as this would be in ef­fect re­strict­ing the bal­lot for the elec­torate to very few people.’

Cllr Fox then out­lined why he was propos­ing Mr Duffy.

‘He has a di­verse back­ground in busi­ness and is in­volved in cer­tain char­i­ties. He struck me as some­one ex­tremely ca­pa­ble and com­pe­tent and I think we should af­ford him the op­por­tu­nity to get on the bal­lot pa­per’.

Cllr Ruttle said he had been im­pressed by Mr Duffy’s pre­sen­ta­tion last week.

‘He com­pletely an­swered all the ques­tions put to him and also told us his val­ues. I was par­tic­u­larly im­pressed by his knowl­edge of the Con­sti­tu­tion and the his­tory of the of­fice’.

While Cllr Joe Be­han was propos­ing Sen­a­tor Free­man, he was in agree­ment that all coun­cil­lors should ex­er­cise their right to nom­i­nate a Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date.

He went on to praise Sen­a­tor Free­man for her work in form­ing Pi­eta House and her em­pha­sis on men­tal health as part of her cam­paign.

‘Com­ing from an ed­u­ca­tional back­ground, I see the anx­i­eties and men­tal health is­sues which is one of the ma­jor is­sues for chil­dren, both at pri­mary and se­condary level. The lack of ser­vices is also clearly ev­i­dent and it’s wel­come that Sen­a­tor Free­man had made men­tal health one of her key is­sues’.

Cllr John Snell sec­onded nom­i­nat­ing Sen­a­tor Free­man, stat­ing: ‘It would be poignant on World Sui­cide Day to put our shoul­der to the wheel and nom­i­nate Sen­a­tor Joan Free­man as a Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date’.

Cllr Tommy Cullen praised the Pres­i­dency of Michael D Hig­gins and out­lined his sup­port for the sit­ting Pres­i­dent.

‘He has been an am­bas­sador of ex­cel­lence and is highly re­spected in­ter­na­tion­ally as the Pres­i­dent of the Ir­ish state. He played a vi­tal role the 1916 cel­e­bra­tions and his visit to the UK was a diplo­matic tri­umph,’ he said.

As Cllr Cullen con­tin­ued speak­ing, Mr Duffy ap­proached Cathaoir­leach Pat Vance to show him a news update on his phone.

Cllr Vance then an­nounced a ten minute ad­journ­ment so it could be con­firmed that Sen­a­tor Free­man had just re­ceived her re­quired fourth nom­i­na­tion from Gal­way County Coun­cil and was with­draw­ing her name from pro­ceed­ings in Wick­low.

The meet­ing re­sumed af­ter a short break and Coun­cil­lors were asked if they were in agree­ment on Mr Duffy’s nom­i­na­tion or did they re­quire a vote. With no dis­sent­ing voices in the cham­ber, Cllr Vance an­nounced Mr Duffy as Wick­low’s Pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion.

While Mr Duffy ac­knowl­edged that he ‘wasn’t ex­pect­ing it to end like this’, he de­scribed the nom­i­na­tion as a ‘very spe­cial night for my fam­ily and my­self ’.

He also ac­knowl­edged Sen­a­tor Free­man for with­draw­ing her name.

‘It is a mark of the type of can­di­date she is in that she was gra­cious enough to do that. We had an agree­ment to leave the field open for democ­racy if one of us al­ready re­ceived enough nom­i­na­tions. The re­spect and re­gard we have for one an­other is spe­cial and will re­main so head­ing into the cam­paign,’ said Mr Duffy.

Gavin Duffy re­ceived the back­ing of Wick­low County Coun­cil at a meet­ing on Mon­day.

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