Belfast Telegraph

Businessman Sean Gallagher announces fresh bid for presidency

The former Dragons’ Den star ended weeks of speculation.

Sean Gallagher lost out to Michael D Higgins in 2011 (Sean Gallagher/PA)
Sean Gallagher lost out to Michael D Higgins in 2011 (Sean Gallagher/PA)

Businessman Sean Gallagher has declared his intention to run in the upcoming Irish presidential election.

Mr Gallagher made the formal announcement on Wednesday morning following weeks of speculation over whether he would make a second bid for the office of President of Ireland.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy confirmed on Tuesday that the election will be held on Friday October 26.

The former Dragons’ Den star was one of six candidates to lose out to President Michael D Higgins in the last election in 2011.

Mr Gallagher secured more than half a million first preference votes, but lost out to Mr Higgins.

Last year, State broadcaster RTE apologised to Mr Gallagher over a tweet read out during a live TV debate during the last election campaign.

The tweet was purported to be from an official account linked to the late Martin McGuinness, who also ran for president in 2011.

However it later emerged the account was not the official campaign account of the Sinn Fein candidate.

In a statement declaring his intentions, Mr Gallagher said Ireland was changing and the next president needed to provide a fresh approach “at this important juncture”.

Sean Gallagher at Dublin Castle after he conceded defeat to Michael D Higgins in the last election (Niall Carson/PA)

“We have as a people an opportunity to redefine the role of president in the context of a changing society, while cherishing all that is unique about Ireland,” Mr Gallagher said.

“While confronted with many challenges there are now emerging opportunities for Ireland to secure its position as a significant player within Europe and globally. This must be matched by creating an inclusive, diverse and equal Ireland for all, where diversity is not just accepted, but celebrated.”

Potential candidates require the support of four local authorities or the backing of 20 TDs or Senators to gain a nomination.

Mr Gallagher said he would be seeking a nomination as an independent candidate from four local authorities.

In a video released by his team, the presidential hopeful said he was “heartened” by the fact that motions to nominate him as a candidate had been formally submitted in ten local authorities since the presidential election order was announced on Tuesday.

“If I am honoured to be nominated as a candidate I will set out a clear and compelling vision for the people of Ireland to assess in the context of an engaging and energetic presidential election campaign,” he said.

Mr Higgins confirmed earlier this year that he will be running for a second term.

Others hoping to get on the ballot include Dragons’ Den star Gavin Duffy, Pieta House suicide prevention charity founder and Senator Joan Freeman, journalist Gemma O’Doherty and artist Kevin Sharkey.

Sinn Fein said it will also put forward a candidate, but is not expected to reveal their identity for a number of weeks.

Presidential hopefuls have until September 26 to gain a nomination.

Press Association

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