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Peter Casey talks to the media at Dublin Castle today. Sam Boal
Aras18

Peter Casey says he is waiting on an apology from Leo Varadkar

Asked if he thinks he is the Trump of Irish politics he replied: ‘God, I hope not.’

THE LIKELY RUNNER up in the presidential election Peter Casey has said he is waiting for Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to apologise to him over comments he made about urging the public “to send a clear message” to Casey at the ballot box.

Speaking to reporters as he arrived at Dublin Castle this afternoon, Casey said he will let his intentions be known about his next move in politics after he talks to his wife.

He struggled to name any member of the Dáil he identified with, and stated that his politics are left-of-centre more so than right-of-centre.

When asked if he thinks he is considered the Trump of Irish politics, he replied: “God, I hope not.”

An exit poll from RTÉ shows Casey has secured 20% of the vote in the wake of his remarks during the campaign. Opinion polls taken before the comments had placed the former Dragon’s Den star on just 2%. 

While tallies are still coming in, he is likely to take the second spot in the race.

Earlier in the campaign, the Taoiseach asked the public to send “a very clear message” to Casey in the presidential election vote by rejecting his deeply “divisive” and “regrettable” views about the Travelling community.

Casey sustained criticism for a series of comments about the Travelling community, across a variety of media appearances.

The issue came to the fore after Casey’s comments on the Irish Independent’s Floating Voter podcast.

He said Travellers should not be recognised as an ethnic minority because they are “basically people camping in someone else’s land”, and that Travellers are “not paying their fair share of taxes in society”. 

Rather than back down from the comments, he expanded on them and doubled down in a series of interviews.

Casey denied that he was a racist, and said he was merely trying to make the point that no group should be treated differently, and everyone in Ireland should be treated equally,

Both the Taoiseach and Tánaiste slammed Casey’s comments, stating that he was merely trying to make a name for himself in the campaign. Varadkar said people should send a message to Casey at the polls. 

Casey told reporters that he is still waiting on the Taoiseach to apologise for making such comments, adding that it must be the first time in history a Taoiseach has asked the electorate not to vote for a presidential candidate.

“I am still waiting on the Taoiseach to apologise for saying people not to vote for me,” he said, adding that he was selected by four councils to run.

He called the Taoiseach’s comments “disgraceful” and said Varadkar is not listenng to the people. He said this would be reflected at the next general election.

While Casey would not state if he intends to run in the next general election, he indicated that running as an MEP would probably not be the right course for him.

He said he has not spoken to any political parties, and dismissed the idea that he might set up his own party, by stating that there are enough political parties in Ireland.

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