Gavin Duffy, an investor on RTE’s Dragons’ Den
Carlow County Council will hold a special meeting on August 15 for prospective presidential nominees and the first of the four potential candidates confirmed to speak (in alphabetical order) will be Gavin Duffy.
The 58-year-old is best known for his role as an investor on RTE’s Dragons’ Den for the last ten years.
A presidential election is expected to be held in October if candidates receive the backing of 20 or more Oireachtas members or four or more local authorities.
President Michael D Higgins recently confirmed his intention to seek a second term in Arás an Uachtaráin. As the office holder, he does not need to be nominated by Oireachtas members or councils.
Artist Kevin Sharkey, Senator Joan Freeman and Marie Moylan are the other three people confirmed to give a presentation to Carlow councillors.
Though opinion polls will not be conducted until the campaign proper starts, the bookies’ odds for Mr Duffy have placed him the clear second favourite to the incumbent, odds-on favourite President Higgins.
Speaking to Carlow Live, Mr Duffy thanked Carlow County Council for being one of the first local authorities in the country to hold a meeting where potential presidential candidates will outline their vision for the next seven years of the presidency.
“Because Councillors are on the frontline of democracy, in touch with the people in their everyday lives and active in their communities, Article 12.2.2. of our Constitution gives this very important responsibility to Councillors to nominate candidates for the presidency,” said Mr Duffy.
"In fact there is an obligation on Councillors to exercise their vote and open the gates of democracy to allow candidates not selected by the main political parties to contest presidential elections," he added.
“I will focus on youth and outline plans for my proposed International Youth Corps, I will talk about my involvement for years in the Age Friendly Initiative which started in County Louth, where I was chairman, and has now become a national movement.
"I will drive to further achieve Diversity and Inclusion in Irish society but also discuss how I want to bring an end to shaming.
"Sadly, shaming and being easily outraged are all too popular pastimes in Ireland where we attack people over their colour, creed, orientation, ethnicity and body image. We must stop the cyber bullying, especially of younger people,” Mr Duffy said.
A major theme for a "Duffy Presidency" will be how he would “put the presidency to work for Ireland as regards bringing investment and jobs to Ireland and participate energetically and enthusiastically in Trade Missions to boost Irish exports".
“Obviously I will talk on Wednesday about the ongoing saga of Carlow town still waiting for years for an IDA advance offices park.
"I have also studied the plans for the development of the town, including the 296 submissions that have been made.
"But as President I would also shine a light on the great community initiatives around the nation, such as a community like Ballon where they have created a type of incubator facility to assist start-ups and I would highlight the work of programmes such as R-Innovate.”
Finally, he said he has spoken to all the councillors in the last few days in advance of the meeting and was impressed how well they engaged with him and discussed his vision for the Presidency and is really looking forward to the meeting.
He is also looking forward to hearing the other candidates, “Senator Freeman spoke with me in Waterford and was very impressive and I am looking forward to meeting Kevin Sharkey and Marie Moylan the other two speakers," he added.
Formal nominations won't be made until after the presidential election order is made and therefore Council members are not likely to vote on a potential candidate until the September meeting of the local authority.