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Joe Brolly for President? Don't bet against GAA legend going on solo run

By Claire McNeilly

Published 19/12/2015

Outspoken: Joe Brolly
Outspoken: Joe Brolly

Joe Brolly for President of Ireland? Don't bet against it, the man himself has said.

The outspoken GAA pundit revealed that he had been contacted by "various political parties" about running for the Aras.

And he told how a friend of his had already placed a few hundred euros on him becoming the Republic's Head of State.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Brolly, from Dungiven, said he "couldn't possibly comment" on whether or not he was vying for the role.

But he added: "It's not that I wouldn't be attracted to it, but it would have to be a zero-cost campaign and it would have to be voluntary.

"There wouldn't be any of the razzmatazz or anything, and it would obviously be on important social issues and things like that."

The Derry football legend also said the "problem" with the presidency was "that it is very ambassadorial".

"What we've seen over the last three presidencies - and all of them have been outstanding Presidents taking into account the constraints of the role - we've seen very academic people with very academic interests, and even people with their sort of heft have been unable, really, to influence any agenda," he said.

The barrister, who has not discussed the issue with his wife or family, said the bureaucracy and the constraints of the role would drive him "crazy".

He added: "There are a lot of really important social issues that I think could be advanced. I've seen Opt for Life - our organ donation campaign, totally voluntary - in the space of the three years since it was created begin to create real awareness here in the North.

"When we started three years ago our rates were extremely low and now... we're number one in the world for kidney donation.

"I've seen over the last three or four years that there are ways to influence the political process."

In his weekly column for GAA newspaper Gaelic Life, the 46-year-old wrote: "At this special time, it gives me great pleasure to address you as the next President of Ireland. At 9/1 in the bookies, this is the easiest money you'll make since the dry-lining boom."

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