DRAGON’S Den star Sean Gallagher has confirmed his intentions to seek a nomination for the presidency of Ireland.
The former Louth County Enterprise Board boss was first linked to succeeding Mary McAleese in Aras an Úachtarain last week but confirmed that he would be looking to enter the election process on Friday night’s Late Late Show.
He told host Ryan Tubridy: “In the papers last week it was speculated that I might consider running for the presidency and I’m here to give you a straight answer and that is that I’m going to put my name forward as an independent candidate.
“It’s not something I woke up some morning and said I want to be president. It was over the last six months when I’ve been working closely with small businesses and people who are really struggling. A lot of people would be familiar with me from Dragon’s Den but in a previous life I was a youth worker and a community worker and so I have this sense about what is happening in the community and people are frightened.
“People are saying to me we don’t see a roadmap or a hope and we’re disconnected with what’s happening at the higher level. They’re asking for advice and insight and as I’m sharing them they’re also saying to me what about the bigger picture, have you any ideas?
“In the last 15 years of the Celtic Tiger boom we’ve lost the sense of who we are but people are saying we really need to come back to our core. Our biggest challenge is unemployment and people are saying to me that you with your skillset focused on business and creating jobs married with your understanding of community should step forward to the plate and that’s what I’m doing.”
The Cavan native, who now lives in Dundalk, said he was not running on the Fianna Fáil ticket because “it should be above politics.”
“My preference is to go the council route because that really is of the people for the people.”
He added: “My theme is going to be about enterprise job creation on the one hand and community on the other.
“Unemployment is the biggest issue because it sucks the very confidence and the life out of us.”
He said he would look to lead trade missions abroad, if elected.
All of Sean’s Dragon’s Den colleagues have already publicly backed him for the president.
He now requires the nod from four county councils to get on the election ticket.