Gavin Duffy says he will publish expenses if elected president

Transparency of office’s spending has been raised as an issue in election run-up

Irish presidential candidate Gavin Duffy. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Irish presidential candidate Gavin Duffy. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

 

Presidential candidate Gavin Duffy has said he will ensure all of the expenses associated with Áras an Uachtaráin are published annually if he is elected.

Businessman and Dragons’ Den panellist Mr Duffy secured the endorsement of a fourth local authority last week.

He will contest the election along with Senator Joan Freeman, businessmen and former Dragons’ Den panellists Seán Gallagher and Peter Casey, President Michael D Higgins and Sinn Féin candidate Liadh Ní Riada.

Mr Duffy was joined by his wife, Orlaith Carmody, as he lodged his nomination papers at the Custom House in Dublin yesterday.

The subject of the spending relating to the office of the President has been raised in the run-up to the election, particularly in relation to details not being available under the Freedom of Information Act.

Mr Duffy said he wants to ensure his office is “open and transparent” if he is elected.

“I have said that if I am elected as president I will engage in a voluntary protocol so that all of the expenses associated with Áras an Uachtaráin are published annually. I think it’s very important what taxpayers’ money is being spent on,” he said.

“I would hope as president that I have the opportunity to publish the accounts of the Áras, as it will show to the people of Ireland the value they are getting for the presidency,” said Mr Duffy, who insisted he was prepared for scrutiny of his personal and public life during the campaign.

Mr Duffy said the independent candidates have a harder time getting on the ballot paper as they do not have funding from a party. “We’re funding it from our own resources and we’re fundraising as well, but it’s not an election that is designed for independents.”

Mr Duffy said he had been in touch with Virgin Media Television regarding the live televised presidential debates and expects President Michael D Higgins to take part. “I can’t imagine debates going ahead without the incumbent President, so I’m taking it as accepted that Michael D Higgins will be there to debate myself and the other candidates on TV,” he said.