David Norris is just three names away from securing a nomination to run for President of Ireland next month.
The controversial gay senator now claims to have the signatures of 17 members of the upper and lower houses of the Irish parliament.
Senators Mary Ann O’Brien and Eamonn Coghlan, both nominated by Prime Minister Enda Kenny to the Senate, added their names to Norris’s nomination papers on Thursday. Now Norris needs just three more deputies or senators to add their names to his nomination paper in order to go forward to the ballot.
South Tipperary Independent deputy Mattie McGrath may be one of the three after admitting he could switch support from Dana Rosemary Scanlon to Norris.
“I have no intention of campaigning for David Norris or even voting for him, but I feel it could be a negation of democracy to prevent him running,” said McGrath.
“I will discuss the issue with my supporters in Tipperary before coming to a decision.”
Norris has also targeted his former Senator colleague Shane Ross for support.
Former Fianna Gael Minister Michael Lowry has confirmed that he will become signature number 20 once 19 other names are secured by Norris.
Dana will now seek support for a nomination from four County Councils in her bid to succeed Mary McAleese.
Donegal and Longford County Councils look certain to back the former singer while Offaly County Council are also to consider her nomination.
Prime Minister Kenny has re-iterated that Fine Gael councilors will abstain from voting in the nomination process.
“I want to assure you that the full support of the entire Fine Gael party and its support groups will swing in behind Gay Mitchell,” said Kenny.
“We are right behind Gay Mitchell in an effort to get him to every part of the country and to meet as many people as he can to set out his credentials and his views on how he will carry the next presidency for the next seven years.”