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Profile

The 61-year-old entrepreneur is best known for his time as an investor on RTÉ’s 'Dragons Den'. His background is in recruitment as the founder and former chief executive of US-based Claddagh Resources. He was born in Derry but spent much of his life abroad working in Australia and the US.

More recently he has written a book about the Tata Group, an Indian multinational with Irish roots through the Mistry family, Ireland’s richest citizens.

He now lives in Donegal after selling his $2m (€1.73m) mansion in Atlanta to downsize to a more modest €250,000 property in the north-west.

He has five adult children with his wife Helen.

Key Messages

Mr Casey’s campaign is based on a global footing. He wants to make the most of Ireland’s diaspora, working to link in with Irish expats and people with Irish heritage or roots. He wants to work with leaders in government, business, education and science abroad using their Irish links to boost economic and social relationships.

He has promised to prioritise an ‘Irish birth-right programme’, encouraging the Irish diaspora to send their children to Ireland to become immersed in Irish culture and aid tourism.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are also a key plank in his presidential campaign. He wants Irish universities to partner with equivalents abroad to bring more students to Ireland.

When seeking presidential nominations from local authorities he promised he would not take an annual salary and instead issue a cheque to each local authority to donate to a charity of their choice throughout his term in Áras an Uachtaráin.

Likely Strengths

He has been seen affable and happy to engage with the public and the media.  He has been quite open in his campaign, happy to take questions from all quarters and often comes across as lighthearted and less serious than some of his rivals.

His decision to run for the Áras may be seen as brave considering he came to the race later than his rival candidates despite being somewhat of an unknown quantity politically. He has also been the main candidate to break the buck against the incumbent by questioning Michael D Higgins for hiring his driver during the last election campaign as executive assistant to the Áras.

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Weaknesses

His only previous political experience comes from a failed Seanad bid where he secured just 14 votes. He was nominated for a place on the Industrial and Commercial panel by Ibec, promising to prioritise jobs, foreign direct investment and indigenous business.

Having spent much of his life abroad his profile may also be a stumbling block compared to his rivals.

Intended as a joke, Golf Ball-gate, where he made a video driving a golf ball into a lake in an apparent to poke fun at President Michael D Higgins, created concern among environmentalists. He also got into trouble for offering Senator Joan Freeman a loan to fund her campaign at a rate prohibited under Sipo rules and for comments about Traveller ethnicity.

Bookies Odds

Major bookmakers are offering odds of between 300/1 and 500/1.


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