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Friday 14 December 2018

Casey gets nomination to be third 'Dragon' in Áras race

Peter Casey. Photo: Mark Condren
Peter Casey. Photo: Mark Condren
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

President Michael D Higgins will battle three former 'Dragons' Den' stars in the race for Áras an Uachtaráin after Peter Casey secured a nomination last night.

Mr Casey got the support of the four local authorities he needed to get on the ballot paper alongside his fellow former reality TV panellists Seán Gallagher and Gavin Duffy.

Limerick and Tipperary councils nominated Mr Casey. He said he was "humbled and delighted" to officially get into the race.

The Derry-born businessman - who emigrated and founded a US recruitment firm - also said he has fulfilled a promise made to his mother when he left Ireland, "that I would come back and run for president".

Independent candidate Mr Casey said he was late entering the race but claimed he has now "built up incredible momentum" with "everyone who wants to do more for this country". He argued he would be a president who could identify with rural Ireland, modern business and Northern Ireland.

Mr Casey has said he would not take a salary if elected, but will instead give it to a different local authority each month for use with local charities.

The president is entitled to a salary of €325,000 but Mr Higgins has handed 23pc of this back to the State each year, bringing his annual income down to €249,000.

Overall Mr Casey is the sixth candidate who will contest the election.

Pieta House founder Senator Joan Freeman also secured a nomination from councils and Sinn Féin unveiled MEP Liadh Ní Riada as their candidate at the weekend.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said she understood that Ms Ní Riada would accept a salary rate pegged to that of senior ministers if she is elected president. The rest would be handed back to the State. Senior ministers currently accept a salary of €157,540. Ms McDonald said Ms Ní Riada would clarify the salary plan but Sinn Féin did not respond last night when asked the sum she planned to take. Sinn Féin previously had a policy of its elected representatives taking the average industrial wage.

Ms McDonald said it had changed its system and introduced a "banded system" for elected representatives. She did not set out the rates of pay.

Irish Independent

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