Dana threatens to quit race

Dana Rosemary Scallon. (1110MM20)
Dana Rosemary Scallon. (1110MM20)

Presidential candidate Dana Rosemary Scallon has threatened to withdraw from the election if questions continue to be asked about a family dispute.

The former Eurovision winner made the remarks in a radio interview yesterday amid controversy over a family dispute which was revealed during a court case.

The dispute centred around a disagreement between Dana and members of her family over ownership of some of her religious recordings. It was heard in an Iowa court in 2008.

A personal settlement was agreed following the court proceedings.

The singer’s estranged sister, Susan Stein, said that she has “no personal relationship whatsoever” with Dana following the dispute over alleged underpayment and non-payment of royalties.

It has also been claimed that some of Mrs Scallon’s siblings are also involved in a dispute over the ownership of their late mother’s home in Derry.

Ms Stein also claimed that Dana became an American citizen in 1997, two years earlier than the candidate has stated publicly.

Ms Scallon has denied the claims, which were first made during the court case in 2008, and has insisted that she did not become an American citizen until 1999.

“My US passport was renewed in 2009. It is a 10-year passport expiring in 2019. The US issue a standard 10-year passport. My first US passport was issued in 1999,” she said.

The singer also rejected claims that by taking American citizenship, she renounced her Irish citizenship. She has said she made it clear to US officials that she could not renounce her Irish citizenship.

The former MEP has said she does not believe holding dual citizenship will harm her chances in the presidential race. “I truly was never asked and I truly knew it wasn’t a problem because a dual citizenship means you are a citizen of both countries.

“If I had been asked why would I want to hide it? I didn’t think it was a problem to hide it and I don’t think it is a problem now, in fact it is an advantage.

“I love my country. I vote in my country. I defend my country as best I can and promoted it throughout the world for 41 years,” she said.

If the London-born singer is successful in her bid to become president, she will not be the first resident of Áras an Uachtárain to hold American citizenship. Éamonn de Valera also held American citizenship and was born in New York.

Meanwhile, Dana has also hit out at the media, claiming an anti-Catholic bias exists in some elements of the Irish media. She made the claim in a radio interview yesterday as she faced questions about the dispute within her family. Political analysts have said the controversy could impact on the candidate’s ‘family values’ image and could harm her prospects at the polls.

Ms Scallon has trailed in all of the opinion polls carried out in recent weeks, often finishing last.

The former singer also ran for the presidency in 1997, finishing third in the contest, which was won by Mary McAlese. She also attempted, unsuccessfully, to secure a seat in the Dail for the Galway West constituency in the 2002 general election, gaining 3.5 per cent of the vote. She was also an MEP for the Connaught Ulster constituency between 1990 and 2004.