Friday 23 June 2017

A tale of two Seans as the cycle legend meets the 'Dragon'

Gordon Deegan

IT was a tale of two Seans when a presidential hopeful bumped into a cycling legend on the campaign trail yesterday.

Sensing an unplanned photo opportunity, Sean Gallagher was almost immediately surrounded by snappers anxious to record the chance encounter with Sean Kelly at O'Connell Square, Ennis, Co Clare.

Mr Gallagher was on a walkabout while Kelly was part of a 300-strong group of cyclists taking a break from their charity four-day Tour de Munster in aid of Down Syndrome Ireland.

Shaking hands, the cyclist told the 'Dragon': "You'll join us for a few miles next year."

Accompanied by his wife, Trish, Mr Gallagher was in campaign mode: hugging children, shaking hands with locals, congratulating the cyclists and having his photo taken with a local garda.

The Aras candidate said that he had met more than 10,000 people in 17 counties as part of the tour and was busy meeting more yesterday including business people, carers and farmers in Ennis.

The youngest prospective candidate in the field at 49, Mr Gallagher said the presidency was "a sleeves rolled up job".

He said: "The role of president in the past was not being seen as very active. It needs to be put to work like every other organ of the State to put the country back on its feet.

"For me, my view of the presidency is that it is a sleeves rolled up job."

The Government has imposed a spending cap on candidates of €750,000 in the forthcoming campaign.

But Mr Gallagher said that the spend associated with campaigning to be president was "absolutely obscene".

"There are enough avenues through the media to get your message across without spending lots of money," he added

And the former member of the Fianna Fail National Executive said that his past association with the party "hasn't come up on the ground at all . . . I'm standing as an independent."

Irish Independent

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