Presidential runner-up Peter Casey has clarified his intentions to join Fianna Fáil - and said that if they don't accept him, he'll set up his own version of the party instead.
Sources told the Irish Independent yesterday that party figures were rejecting the idea of adding Casey to their ranks, but this hasn't phased the former 'Dragon'.
"They definitely need someone like Peter Casey to shake it up," he told Miriam O'Callaghan on RTÉ Radio One.
"I'm 100pc serious. If the consensus after talking to them is they don’t want me, I’ll form a new party and I’ll call it the new Fianna Fáil."
A number of Fianna Fáil TDs have commented on Mr Casey's intentions to join the party, with Niall Collins telling RTÉ previously that he wouldn't "personally" like to see Casey join the party.
Responding to suggestions that the party is already "full", Casey said: "the party’s full, full of nonsense. If they don’t really have room, then they have a problem.
"He [Niall Collins] obviously doesn’t know me and he has not made an effort to speak to me, I’d be delighted to talk to him. I believe that 342,000 people came out and said 'we support Peter'," Casey said in responsee.
"I think that should send a message and resonate with the fact how disconnected they are with the people in middle Ireland, the centre, the hardworking people that are getting up, working and feeling that there's no light at the end of the tunnel."
Asked whether he had contacted the party officially yet, Casey said he had doubts that party leader Micheál Martin would answer his phone calls.
"I can certainly understand why Micheal wouldn’t want me because I actually want his job," he said.
"I suspect Micheál probably wouldn’t take my phone call. I don’t have his number.
"I think Micheál is a very decent, good and hardworking politician. I think he’s too nice to take on the likes of Leo Varadkar, who made scandalous, racist remarks about me and hasn’t apologised yet.
"Of all the people he knows I’m absolutely not a racist. He knows I’ve spent more time in India than he has."
Despite the party already having selected sitting TDs Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher and Charlie McConalogue to run in Donegal when the next general election is called, the businessman rejected the idea of running for local elections as an Independent candidate.
"I think you have to be aligned with a party to be successful in Ireland.
"The vote wasn’t so much a vote for Peter Casey, it was a vote of frustration. The people feel that there hasn’t really been a government for the last three and a half years. This confidence and supply- it just hasn’t worked in anyone's benefit.
"I don’t believe as an Independent you can be successful."
Mr McConalogue declined to comment at the weekend but Mr Gallagher said: "If Mr Casey wants to join Fianna Fáil he can contact the party headquarters and make his application in the usual way.
"We have already had our selection convention in Donegal and chosen our two candidates, the sitting TDs, but if the constituency organisation decide to add a third candidate - well, so be it," he said.
Mr Casey previously told the Irish Independent that he wants to join Fianna Fáil because the party "was always about the people of Ireland", but added it had to start "listening again to real people".