herald

Thursday 16 August 2018

RTE ditches Dana over Aras ambition

DANA may give Norris a run for his money.

DANA has been dumped |from RTE’s Celebrity Bainisteoir after contacting Fianna Fail TDs to gauge support for a presidential bid.

The former Eurovision winner is expected to end weeks of speculation in the coming days by entering the now hotly-contested race for the Aras.

The Herald understands that Rosemary Scallon, better known as Dana, has done a “ring-around” of Fianna Fail Oireachtas members in the hope of getting their backing.

Blow

Her late entry would be a massive blow to David Norris who is also hoping to secure nominations from Fianna Fail and independent TDs.

“The keys of the Aras cannot belong to just the political |parties, that office is for the people of Ireland. And I am now considering entering the Aras race,” she said.

“People have been very supportive in recent days and I will be announcing my decision shortly,” she added.

In 1997 she got on the ballot paper with support from local authorities but spent most of last week phoning TDs and senators. Fianna Fail sources have told the Herald that a number of deputies have warmed to the idea of throwing their weight behind the Derry native.

Ms Scallon also wrote a letter to Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin, letting him know of her intentions to run. It comes as Fianna Fail senator Labhras |O Murchu claimed he has the required support of 20 Oireachtas members.

Dana’s likely bid has |scuppered her chances at winning reality TV show Celebrity Bainisteoir.

Ms Scallon has alleged that she was issued with an ultimatum from RTE that unless she declared her intentions, she would not be allowed appear on the upcoming series.

She said: “In August, stuff started appearing in the papers about me running for President, but it was pure speculation at the time because I had not started it and I don't know where it came from.

“But after my team played in the quarter-finals of the competition I got a letter from the production company saying that RTE were pressurising them and that they wanted an answer in two days.

“I never said that I didn't want to be in the series but in September I was gone.”

As the deadline for nominations draws closer, Mr Norris was also making last ditch pleas for support today.

The senator refused to divulge how many pledges of support he has already secured from Oireachtas members when he appeared on Friday's Late Late Show.

However it does not appear that Mr Norris will be able to persuade his former backers to give back their support.

He will be hoping that he can benefit from Fianna Fail's failure secure agreement among its members on a presidential strategy.

hnews@herald.ie

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