She's the second hopeful to secure the backing of a local authority

Pieta House founder Joan Freeman is a step closer to officially entering the Presidential race.

She secured a nomination from Cork City Council last night with 14 votes and 11 abstentions.

Also hoping to challenge Michael D Higgins are the stars of Dragons' Den Seán Gallagher, Gavin Duffy and Peter Casey.

Along with Marilyn Monroe impersonator Sarah Louise Mulligan and journalist Gemma O'Doherty.

They need the backing of four Councils or 20 Oireachtas members.