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Wednesday 17 October 2018

Ó Céidigh refuses to answer questions on political party links

Pádraig Ó Céidigh. Picture: Tom Burke
Pádraig Ó Céidigh. Picture: Tom Burke
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Potential presidential candidate Pádraig Ó Céidigh has refused to answer questions on any links he may have had to politics over the years.

That is despite his potential rival in the race for Áras an Uachtaráin - 'Dragons' Den' star Gavin Duffy - answering similar questions last week.

The Irish Independent asked former Aer Arann boss Mr Ó Céidigh whether or not he has ever been a member of a political party.

We also asked if he or any of his companies have ever made a donation to a party or individual politician.

Mr Ó Céidigh replied: "I will address your questions should I become a candidate for the presidential election."

The Independent senator was appointed to the Seanad in 2016 by then-Taoiseach Enda Kenny. He was one of three Independent senators suggested by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, including Pieta House founder and fellow current presidential hopeful Joan Freeman. Mr Ó Céidigh's name was among those mentioned in Fianna Fáil circles as a possible candidate for the 2009 European Elections for the North-West constituency, according to reports at the time.

It was also reported he was approached by another political party about a possible bid for a European Parliament seat. Ultimately he did not run in the election.

Previously, he was listed in the programme for the 2006 Ógra Fianna Fáil conference as a speaker in a session entitled 'Investing in Ireland's Future'. Mr Ó Céidigh did not answer a question on whether he had spoken at any other Fianna Fáil events.

The 'Sunday Independent' reported at the weekend that he is conducting a poll to see how he is perceived among the public before confirming whether he will seek a nomination to contest the presidential election.

In the interview, Mr Ó Céidigh cited "energy, experience and the [background I have] outside of politics" as factors that would make him a better president than the incumbent, Michael D Higgins. He also said he was "not being negative" about Mr Higgins.

Businessman Mr Duffy last week said he had no affiliation with any political party. He said: "I have never been a member of a political party, nor have I ever donated to a party."

He confirmed that his communications company, Gavin Duffy and Associates, provided services to former Taoiseach Enda Kenny in 2011 among other work carried out for politicians.

Irish Independent

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