Presidency hopeful Kevin Sharkey says he’s “disappointed” at what he describes as an apparent snub by Waterford City and County Council.
The local authority held a meeting on Tuesday to hear from potential candidates – but artist and activist Sharkey, who lives in Balbriggan, was not in attendance.
He told Dublin Gazette: “I’m still trying to find out why I was not invited. If it was an administrative glitch then that’s fine, but if it was anything else at play then I’m very annoyed about it.”
A spokesperson for WCCC said specific invites were not issued and those who attended secured their place by replying to a newspaper advertisement.
Mr Sharkey (57) said he had written to every local authority in the country six months ago and followed this up two months ago to notify them of a change of email address.
He said: “I’m assuming that before the election there will be another meeting and they [Waterford] will let me come and speak to them then. I’m hoping for an explanation and that we can clear this up.”
The Waterford meeting was attended by three potential candidates – Pieta House founder and Senator Joan Freeman, businessman Gavin Duffy and Galway activist Patrick Feeney.
Despite the setback, Donegal native Sharkey said: “It’s still full steam ahead. The reaction I’ve had from people has been spectacular. I had no idea there were so many people out there who felt there was no voice to represent them.”
The outspoken artist is campaigning on an anti-EU and anti-immigration platform and says he has “several businesspeople” willing to back him financially.
He added: “I’m 100% serious about this and feel it’s time for change.”
Waterford City and County Council placed an advert in The Irish Times advising its intention to hold a meeting on Tuesday with the “single purpose” of offering potential candidates to address members.
A spokesperson for the local authority added: “Waterford City and Council did not invite any potential candidates to attend this meeting, and the three candidates who did each contacted [us] by the deadline.
“The Special Meeting is part of an ongoing process and if Mr Sharkey wishes to address the Elected Members at a later date, he will need to contact the Meetings Administrator directly.”
Those interested in running must be nominated by four local authorities or 20 members of the Oireachtas. Candidates cannot be formally nominated until the official Presidential Election order is passed, probably in late August or September.
Mr Sharkey revealed: “I have five other local authorities lined up but it will probably be September before that happens. Watch this space.”