Dragons’ Den panellist Peter Casey likely to secure presidential nod

Casey seems to be the only candidate left in a position to secure a council nomination


Businessman and Dragons’ Den star Peter Casey now looks likely to become the sixth candidate in October’s presidential election, having secured the backing of two county councils yesterday.

Both Kerry and Clare county councils voted to nominate the Derry businessman, who now requires two further nominations to contest the election before nominations close on September 26th.

If Mr Casey succeeds in securing a place, he will become the fourth Independent candidate to have done so through the council route, following the successful nominations of Senator Joan Freeman and fellow Dragons’ Den stars Sean Gallagher and Gavin Duffy. Also on the October 26th ballot paper will be Sinn Féin candidate Liadh Ní­ Riada and President Michael D Higgins.

Mr Casey needs the backing of two of about 10 councils that have yet to vote, or are still open for nominations. He could secure further endorsements today from councils in Tipperary, Longford and Limerick, all of which will consider presidential nominations.

Donegal County Council is ready to convene a special meeting on the matter on Tuesday, September 25th, the eve of the deadline. With his close connections to the county, sources said that if Mr Casey needed a fourth nomination, Donegal councillors would almost certainly back him.

Big spender

In addition, South Dublin County Council will meet to discuss the issue on Thursday, and Kildare County Council is expected to vote next Monday. No candidates were proposed by councillors in Louth or Monaghan, but both councils have left it open to hold special meetings should late proposals be made.

Following his success in Kerry, where he was heavily backed by Fianna Fáil councillors, Mr Casey said he was confident of getting the necessary endorsements. He also said he was not running to lose and was prepared to spend up to the cap of €750,000.

“I didn’t stand to lose. I believe I have a very good platform,” Mr Casey said.

Offaly and Laois councils decided not to nominate anyone yesterday and in Kilkenny County Council journalist Gemma O’Doherty’s nomination was defeated by seven to five.

Earlier artist Kevin Sharkey, who has dropped out of the presidential race , described the process of trying to secure council support as a “circus” and a “farce”.

The Donegal-born artist had called for caps on immigration to prevent ghettoisation and had spoken favourably about the death penalty as a deterrent for violent attacks on elderly people in rural Ireland. He said that the process favoured politicians and wealthy business people. He called for councils to back Ms O’Doherty.

Final nomination?

As of now, Mr Casey seems the only candidate left in a position to secure a council nomination. Chairman of Donegal County Council Cllr Séamus Ó Dómhnaill said he was speaking to colleagues and it was likely a special meeting would be convened for next Tuesday.

“If it were a situation that a candidate had two or three nominations, we would seek to support the nomination in the interests of democracy,” he said.

Chairman of Longford County Council Cllr Luie McEntire said the council would be hearing from five candidates today, including Mr Casey and Ms O’Doherty and would probably make its decision on the day. Sources in Limerick were more circumspect about backing any candidate. One councillor said he thought it unlikely. Tipperary councillors will also hear from seven candidates.

Meanwhile, the Twitter account previously used by Mr Higgins in the 2011 election campaign has been reactivated, while a website has also been launched for those who wish to keep up with his campaign.