| 22.6°C Dublin

The Trump effect: Three 'Dragons' Den' investors fired up for presidential race

Three reality TV stars will challenge Higgins

Close

Dragon Peter Casey may enter the race for Áras an Uachtaráin. Photo: Conor McCabe Photography

Dragon Peter Casey may enter the race for Áras an Uachtaráin. Photo: Conor McCabe Photography

Dragon Peter Casey may enter the race for Áras an Uachtaráin. Photo: Conor McCabe Photography

A third 'Dragons' Den' investor is on the verge of entering the race for Áras an Uachtaráin, the Irish Independent can reveal.

Businessman Seán Gallagher will today make a dramatic entrance into the presidential contest - but he could face competition from reality TV colleague Peter Casey.

Close

Businessman Seán Gallagher. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Businessman Seán Gallagher. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Businessman Seán Gallagher. Photo: Gerry Mooney

The founder of recruitment firm Claddagh Resources has created a website with the tagline 'Building Bridges for Ireland' and confirmed last night that he is "considering" a bid.

"There's a lot to consider. It's the most interesting election we've ever had with some strong candidates. Never before has an incumbent been challenged and beaten," Mr Casey said.

It is understood Mr Casey contacted a number of TDs in recent days to gauge potential support. The developments in the race for the Áras come on the back of Donald Trump's successful move from television screen to politics. Mr Trump fronted popular business show 'The Apprentice' before he ran for the US presidency.

'Dragons' Den' entrepreneur Gavin Duffy has previously admitted his background came with "baggage" but he insisted he would be a very different candidate to Mr Trump.

Close

Gavin Duffy pictured with his wife Orlaith Carmody. Photo: David Conachy

Gavin Duffy pictured with his wife Orlaith Carmody. Photo: David Conachy

Gavin Duffy pictured with his wife Orlaith Carmody. Photo: David Conachy

Mr Duffy is in a strong position to secure the necessary four nominations from local authorities to get on the ticket.

Mr Gallagher will also confirm today he wants to wrestle the keys to Áras an Uachtaráin off Michael D Higgins.

An intriguing rematch between the two men who came first and second in 2011 is set to play out ahead of polling day on Friday, October 26. Sources say Mr Gallagher will spend today canvassing councillors in the hope of getting a local authority nomination rather than holding a formal press conference.

Instead he is expected to have a soft launch by issuing a statement mid-morning in which he will outline his reasons for running again.

Debate

Mr Gallagher was widely predicted to win the 2011 election but his campaign ran aground after a bogus tweet was read out on live television during the final debate.

Daily Digest Newsletter

Get ahead of the day with the morning headlines at 7.30am and Fionnán Sheahan's exclusive take on the day's news every afternoon, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

RTÉ has since apologised for not verifying the claim on a fake Martin McGuinness account that a man who had given a €5,000 cheque to Mr Gallagher would appear at a press conference the next day. Late last year RTÉ paid Mr Gallagher "substantial damages".

The Irish Independent has learned the Cavan man has conducted polling in recent weeks to establish whether the infamous RTÉ 'Frontline' debate actually cost him the presidency.

Secret data compiled by a private polling company shows one in five voters believed the debacle over 'tweetgate' helped Mr Higgins secure a late win.

Another one in five agreed: "President Higgins did not win the election, Seán Gallagher lost it."

As President, Mr Higgins is automatically entitled to get his name on the ballot - but up to 12 others want to challenge him. Sinn Féin is still a fortnight away from announcing its candidate.

Mr Gallagher has recently invested heavily in research to establish if he could unseat the President. Sources have indicated the Cavan man is keen for a second chance, believing Mr Higgins's presidency has been lacking in some areas.

Survey results seen by this newspaper show the ex-Labour minister as ranking just one out of 10 for supporting enterprise and employment during his term.

On highlighting homelessness and environmental issues, Mr Higgins got an average score of just two from more than 1,000 people last week. He is also perceived to have not done a lot to promote rural Ireland.

On the flip side, he ranked extremely highly on representing Ireland abroad and when it came to participation in State commemorations.


Most Watched





Privacy