Irish News

Saturday 12 July 2014

Pharmacy queen to inject new life into Dragons' Den

LIAM COLLINS

Published 02/12/2012|05:00

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Glamorous Ramona Nicholas known as a 'Mother Teresa in Louboutins' is to be the sexy new 'Dragon' in the RTE television series.

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The 35-year-old behind the 12-strong chain of Cara Pharmacies has been recruited to follow in the footsteps of Sarah Newman and Norah Casey as one of the four business people in the new series of Dragons' Den.

As the latest series prepares to go into production, businessman and media guru Gavin Duffy is now the "last Dragon standing" from the original show. It is expected that another wealthy Irish businessman from the Irish "diaspora" will be announced as the fourth Dragon in the coming weeks.

Coffee king Bobby Kerr and Black Tie owner Niall O'Farrell told the producers of the show, ShinAwil Productions some months ago that they would be leaving, and publisher Norah Casey announced last week that she would not be taking part in the 2013 series.

"I got a shock," said Gavin Duffy last week, "and while the timing was late, four weeks before recording, I fully agree with Norah's decision."

He said that with all her commitments, "something had to give". Nicholas, who lives in Bundoran, Co Donegal, with her husband Canice, and owns the Cara chain of pharmacies has cut her television teeth with an episode of The Secret Millionaire where she helped people with alcohol and drug addiction in Galway.

Originally from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, she is the daughter of a plumber and a schoolteacher and after studying pharmacy in Queen's University she worked in the Dublin chemist shop, learning a lot about business and life.

"I had a very negative attitude to certain problems like alcoholism and drug addiction – when I was 21 I worked as a pharmacist in Coolock (Dublin) and put myself in some situations I probably shouldn't have, becoming the confidante of a drug addict," she told the Sunday Independent.

Duffy added: "One of the challenges doing Dragon's Den is when the cameras stop rolling in the Den, only then does the real work start for a Dragon. Helping startups achieve their potential in the mother of all recessions is no easy work."

Budding entrepreneurs can apply to Dragon's Den at: www.allaboutbusiness.ie/denlive

Sunday Independent

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