Gavin Duffy to seek nomination from Waterford Council

Dragons’ Den star says he will run ‘the most modern, dynamic, interactive campaign’

Businessman Gavin Duffy has confirmed he is seeking a nomination to run in the presidential election.

In a post on Twitter, Mr Duffy said he is seeking a nomination from four local authorities and has accepted an invitation to speak at Waterford City and County Council on Tuesday at 4pm.

“If I get the required four council nominations I will run the most modern, dynamic, interactive election campaign possible,” Mr Duffy wrote.

Yesterday, Mr Duffy said he had entered the race “to give voters a choice”.


He said that he looked forward to answering questions during the campaign, and expected that questions will also be put to President Michael D Higgins, who is running for a second term.

Mr Higgins would be asked "to explain a few things he's done in the past seven years," Mr Duffy told The Irish Times.

Mr Duffy, a businessman best known for his role in the Dragons' Den television series, is a regular speaker at conferences and also hosts training and advice events.

Free tickets

He wrote to councillors earlier this month offering them free tickets to a “smart marketing seminar” that took place in the Gate Theatre in Dublin on July 17th.

In his communications with councillors, Mr Duffy made no mention of a run for the presidency, but instead offered tickets for “this much-in-demand seminar”, which were normally priced from €59.

In order to secure a presidential election nomination, candidates must get four county councils or 20 TDs or Senators to facilitate their entry into the race.

A number of councils are expected to host potential presidential candidates at meetings over the coming weeks, beginning in Waterford on Tuesday.

However, an animal rights group has said Mr Duffy will face protests because of his support for foxhunting.

Mr Duffy, a member of the Louth Hunt, is a former chairman of the Hunting Association of Ireland.

Second term

President Michael D Higgins announced his intention to nominate himself to serve a second term in office earlier this month.

Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour have all backed the current president, while Sinn Féin has said it will announce its presidential election candidate in September.

A number of others have expressed an interest in running for the presidency including Independent Senators Pádraig Ó Céidigh and Joan Freeman, and the artist Kevin Sharkey.

Last week, Independent Senator Gerard Craughwell said he was no longer intending to contest the election after he had put himself forward as a potential candidate to open up a “serious national conversation on the presidential nomination and election process”. He cited financial reasons for his decision not to run.

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy is Political Editor of The Irish Times