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Gavin Duffy: 'Can I apologise there are three candidates from the Dragons' Den?'

On TheJournal.ie’s The Candidate podcast, Duffy said that he and the other Dragons were not “in cahoots”.

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PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE GAVIN Duffy has said he “genuinely doesn’t know” how it came about that three people who have appeared on the Dragons’ Den programme have become presidential candidates this time out. 

Speaking on TheJournal.ie’s The Candidate podcast, the businessman said that when he made his intention to run clear in July his understanding at the time was that Sean Gallagher wouldn’t be contesting the election and he “certainly didn’t expect” Peter Casey to do so too.

In a wide-ranging interview that took in what he hopes to achieve if elected president, his past driving offences and his stance on hunting, Duffy said that he resolved to run for office in February of this year when the idea “fixed in his mind”. 

He said that 14 years in the role of president is too long and, in reference to President Michael D Higgins, he said it wasn’t an “age issue” but a “length of service issue”. 

If your best pitch is let’s do more of the same, then the work of Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese counts for very little and we’re going back to the retirement home style of presidency. 

He said Robinson and McAleese had “broken the mould” of what a president could achieve in office despite the Irish state creating a presidency with “very limited powers”.

“Nowhere in the Constitution does it say the president can’t do a, b, c, d or e,” Duffy said. 

Listen to the first episode of The Candidate here:


Source: The Candidate/SoundCloud

(Listening on mobile? Click here)

He said that, by putting himself forward for president, he knew there would be a “deep screening process that involves scrutiny”. 

Duffy said: “I have no concern about the questions I’ve been asked. 

Sadly I may not have respected the law. And that is not an excuse. I was lax in something I should not have been. I was in a car illegally on a morning in August with a woman on a motorbike and she was severely injured. That stays with me all the time.

This incident happened at the age of 21. There was a further driving offence of speeding against Duffy when he was 33 years old, he said.

“I did 78 in a 40 mile zone,” he said. “The memory of [injuring somebody] lives with me and the foolishness of not having respect for the law in driving by the speed limit at a particular day… some of us have made the mistake and I am one of those.

Does it disqualify me from being a presidential candidate? That’s for the electorate to decide. I am very remorseful for the incident. 

On some of the achievements he’d like to make as president, Duffy said one would be to “lead a national conversation” to talk about society in a non-political way. 

“It means – we’ve had various forums, like a citizens’ assembly – it’s not rocket science to get people [to do this],” he said. “We were facing into a referendum on the Eighth and we need to move it away from party politics. We have a presidency that costs €8.1 million a year, why don’t we use it to do these important issues.”

Duffy also dismissed early suggestions in the campaign that he and the other Dragon’s Den figures were in acting in some way together.

Can I apologise about the fact that there are three candidates from the Dragon’s Den? How it came about – I genuinely don’t know. There was even a suggestion at the outset that were collaborating or in cahoots – certainly not. 

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Sean Murray

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