South Tipperary Co. Council played a key role this week in securing Special Olympics chief Mary Davis’ candidacy in next month’s presidential election race.
It became the crucial fourth county council to nominate the Mayo born CEO of Special Olympics Europe and Eurasia to contest the election as a candidate as she required the support of that number of councils in order for her name to appear on the presidential election ballot paper.
The Council voted to nominate Ms Davis as a candidate at a special meeting convened at County Hall on Monday morning to decide on the issue.
She went on to secure the nomination of ten councils across the country by Monday evening.
The resolution calling on South Tipperary Co. Council to nominate Ms Davis was tabled by Labour Cllr Darren Ryan and Fianna Fail councillors Siobhan Ambrose, Michael Anglim and Sylvia Cooney-Sheehan and was prompted by a presentation the presidential hopeful gave to the elected council’s monthly meeting last week.
Ten councillors representing Labour, Fianna Fail, the Workers & Unemployment Action Group and Independents voted in favour of the resolution while the ten Fine Gael councillors present at the meeting abstained on the grounds that their party is running Gay Mitchell as a candidate.
Mayor of Clonmel Cllr Darren Ryan, who formally proposed that the resolution be passed, said Ms Davis was outstanding in character and the presentation she gave to the County Council last week showed she was more than capable of carrying out the functions of President of Ireland.
He said thankfully the Labour party had given its councillors the opportunity to facilitate the nomination of independent candidates, which he believed was only right and proper in a democracy.
Cllr Ryan pointed to Ms Davis’ success in bringing the Special Olympics World Games to Ireland in 2003 and mentioned her nomination to the Council of State by outgoing President Mary McAleese in 2004.
The resolution’s seconder Cllr Ambrose said that during her time as CEO of Special Olympics Ireland, Mary Davis travelled the length and breadth of the country ensuring that resources were in place for Special Olympics athletes and the fact that the 2003 Special Olympics World Games was the largest sporting event ever held in Ireland, was a tribute to her.
Cllr Ambrose also pointed out that Ms Davis had received many accolades including Woman of the Year and Person of the Year awards, recognition from several universities and had chaired the St Patrick’s Day Festival in Dublin.
On behalf of the Fine Gael group on the Council, Cllr Liam Ahearne said he and his colleagues certainly wished everybody in the race the best of luck but his party had its own candidate in the race, Gay Mitchell so they would be abstaining if there was a vote.
The councillors who voted in favour of nominating Ms Davis were Labour Cllrs Darren Ryan, Sean Lonergan and Bobby Fitzgerald, Fianna Fail Cllrs Siobhan Ambrose and Michael Anglim, Independent Cllrs Denis Leahy, Richie Molloy, Eddie O’Meara and Tom Wood and Workers & Unemployment Action Group Cllr Pat English. Cllr Cooney-Sheehan was absent from the meeting.
The Fine Gael councillors who abstained were: Cllrs Michael Fitzgerald, Tom Acheson, Liam Ahearne, Joe Brennan, Jack Crowe, John Crosse, John Fahey, Marie Murphy, Michael Murphy and Louise McLoughlin.
Fianna Fail Cllr Sean McCarthy, who was condemned by Cllr Bobby Fitzgerald last week for saying Ms Davis didn’t have the “constitutional knowledge” or “intellectual capacity” to be president, didn’t attend the special council meeting.