Sunday 17 November 2019

Peter Casey to 'campaign vigorously' for mandatory retirement from public office at 80

  • Peter Casey said he will 'let us know' later today if he will run for public office
  • Said he will 'campaign vigorously' for mandatory retirement from public life at 80
  • 'These are exit polls' - Peter Casey 'doesn't believe it's over yet'
  • Does not believe his controversial comments on Travelling community had impact on jump in polls
  • 'I think she feels sorry for me but she knows I'll be over this by lunchtime' - Peter Casey on his wife Helen
Presidential candidate Peter Casey . Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Presidential candidate Peter Casey . Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Cormac Byrne

Independent candidate Peter Casey has said he will 'campaign vigorously' for mandatory retirement from public life at 80.

The Derry native went from 1pc in the opinion polls a few weeks ago, with a small profile outside of his appearance on RTE's Dragon's Den to a position where he is expected to earn one in five first preference votes from the Irish electorate.

When asked on The Pat Kenny Presidential Special on Newstalk what he planned to do next, he said: "I'm going to campaign heavily for mandatory retirement from public life at 80.

"I will absolutely not be going for council. That's far too much hard work. You have no idea how hard county councillors work.

"I'm going to take quite a long time, probably until lunchtime, to decide what I'm going to do next.

"I don't believe it's over yet. These are exit polls."

Meanwhile, he told RTE's Radio One this morning: "Life is about making a difference, I want to do something that makes a difference.

"Will I run for public office again? Well, I didn't do well last time I ran for the Seanad. Probably about 1pm today I'll let you know.

"It looks like we're coming in a close second but I'm still optimistic.

"I think people are looking for a voice, someone who will say things that's in their mind.

"We have a government that's not governing. Along came somebody who just said what's on their mind.

"No, I don't think it's the comments on Travelling community got me here today."

Casey also said that his campaign team tried to persuade him to pull out of the race before he received his first nomination.

Casey's controversial argument that Travellers should not be recognised as an ethnic minority saw his vote surge in the final week of campaigning.

"Five out of six people did not tell the truth on that question of whether they would have a halting site on their street. It wasn't a racist comment. These are people with big egos. They gave an answer that was politically correct," he added.

"I believe it's important that we are society that doesn't discriminate on race, ethnicity or religion.

"I have live in America and I have seen discrimination against people for the colour of their skin. It's dreadful.

"I brought to the fore something that was there already."

Asked how his wife Helen would take the result, he said: "I think she feels sorry for me but she knows I'll be over this by lunchtime. She would have been a very active First Lady."

Casey has been on the receiving end of criticism from his fellow candidates but bears no ill will towards any of them.

"I feel that by lunchtime everyone will have moved on. Sean and I were never close. Joan, I got to know Joan over the campaign. She's an absolute lady.

"Gavin made a couple of mis-steps and said some things that he should not have said. I've got to know Liadh and she's very impressive," he said.

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