INDEPENDENT presidential candidate Mary Davis has launched an emotional attack on those who she claims "targeted" her as part of a "nasty campaign".
The former Special Olympics boss said she believes her "integrity was attacked" throughout the presidential race and fired a parting shot at Fine Gael for what she dubbed as "negative campaigning".
Ms Davis -- who has been categorised as the former dark horse -- refuses to concede that she is out of contention for the presidency.
She told the Herald: "What irritates me is the negative concentration on particular aspects of my campaign. I do believe that everybody should be scrutinised, everybody's background should be scrutinised. But there's no doubt about it -- this has been a nasty campaign."
The Dublin woman is now at just 4pc in the polls but reckons her decline is partly due to "targeting" by other candidates.
"It has focused on particular individuals and as I was going up in the polls, I became one of those targets.
"I just think it's unfair that my integrity has been attacked in this way."
When pressed to name individuals who have been behind the alleged "nasty" tactics, Ms Davis admitted that she suspected it was Fine Gael.
"Reports in the paper suggest that the negative campaigning was Fine Gael, whoever it is, it shouldn't be done.
"I think what it is doing is demeaning the office of the presidency."
The mother-of-four's campaign was plunged into controversy when it emerged she received more than €390,000 for her roles on various State and non-State boards.
Since the year 2000, she has sat on a number of boards, including the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland and the Dublin Airport Authority, and she has also been involved in non-State boards such as the Irish Times Trust and the ICS Building Society.
And she has admitted that she accepts "collective responsibility" for decisions made in relation to mortgage lending while she was on the board of the ICS building society.
However, she today rejected the label of "quango queen", adding that she still believes she can win the race for the Aras.
"I've always believed I am the best candidate. The polls go up and down and I'm spending the next nine days out on the ground.
"Of course I can still win, I've come into this to win and that's what I intend to do."