Monday 27 May 2019

Former presidential candidate Seán Gallagher expected to enter race for the Aras

Sean Gallagher
Sean Gallagher

Philip Ryan and Laura Larkin

Former Presidential Candidate Sean Gallagher looks set to enter the race for the Aras.

Mr Gallagher today wrote to the Mayor and Cathoirleach of every local authority asking that they formally schedule time to hear from potential presidential nominees in the coming weeks.

Mr Gallagher was the front runner in the 2011 election but lost out to Michael D Higgins after he struggled to answer a question relating to a fake tweet during a RTE debate.

In the letter, Mr Gallagher said he has been contacted by a "large numbers of councillors" from around the country "who have expressed concern about the very limited time frame that now exists to all you and your colleagues exercise your right to nominate a Presidential Election candidate".

The letter notes that the Presidential Election is scheduled for October 25th next.

While not directly saying he intends to seek their support, he stated: "To provide sufficient time for this to happen, I would appeal to you directly, to give consideration to formally scheduling an agenda item for your September meeting to facilitate the members of the Council giving due consideration to candidates seeking a nomination. it is worth noting that councillors on 26 separate local authorities exercised this option to nominate a candidate during the 2011 Presidential Election."

Mr Gallagher added: "As I said repeatedly during the course of the 2011 Presidential Election, it is vital for everyone in public life to facilitate the process by which more candidates to come forward to more fully reflect the diverse and changing Ireland we now live in."

Mr Gallagher said his letter has been sent to each Mayor, Cathaoirleach and Chairperson of each local authority, and copied to each chief executive.

Fianna Fáil and Labour have both backed Michael D Higgins in his bid for a second term, and Fine Gael are expected to follow suit following a private meeting of TDs and Senators on Wednesday night.

Sinn Féin are to decide whether they will field a candidate on Saturday and are expected to contest the election.

Mr Gallagher secured a nomination to contest the 2011 election with the support of Cork City Council along with Clare, Meath and Leitrim County Councils.

The former Dragon’s Den investor was favourite to win the presidency in 2011 but his campaign derailed in the final days after a bogus tweet read out during a live RTE debate led to questions about his character.

Mr Gallagher has since settled a case against RTE over the incident - dubbed ‘Tweetgate’ - and an apology was read out in court in which the broadcaster said the programme “fell significantly short of the standards expected by the public and required by law”.

Asked in 2016 about running again Mr Gallagher said he wouldn’t rule anything in or out but said it was not the short term plan.

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