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Dublin: 12°C Monday 19 October 2020

Peter Casey calls Michael D 'uninspiring' as he officially launches his presidential campaign

The former Dragons’ Den star was speaking at the official launch of his presidential campaign today.

Peter Casey and his wife Helen at the EPIC centre in Dublin for the official launch of his presidential campaign
Peter Casey and his wife Helen at the EPIC centre in Dublin for the official launch of his presidential campaign

BUSINESSMAN PETER CASEY has called Michael D Higgins “uninspiring” while speaking at the official launch of his presidential campaign. 

At the CHQ building in Dublin, Casey told reporters that “the President should be inspiring people and be a guiding light to them”. 

The Derry-born entrepreneur said that the only thing he’s heard about Higgins was that he was “good” when he met Queen Elizabeth II. 

“When you meet the Queen, you’re told what to do, where to stand, what to say. The protocols are all established and laid out, I don’t really give him points for meeting the Queen. 

“He hasn’t done anything bad but he hasn’t inspired the presidency in a way that some of the other previous Presidents have,” he said. 

When asked by reporters whether other candidates have been too respectful towards the incumbent during the campaign so far, Casey said many have referred to Higgins as a “wonderful” President, referring in particular to Seán Gallagher. 

“My question to Seán is, if he’s that wonderful, why do you want to stop him from having a second term?

When did he stop being wonderful, you can’t have it both ways.

Casey said he believed Michael D had stopped being “wonderful” about two or three years ago. 

“In his first year, he did 535 or something public appearances and he’s dropped down now to 320, so somewhere in between there, I think there’s been a significant drop-off,” Casey said.  

Irish presidential race Peter Casey with supporters Source: PA Wire/PA Images

The former Dragons’ Den star said the primary initiative of his campaign is to connect the Irish abroad with the homeland as he believes the diaspora is one of Ireland’s greatest and most under-utilised assets.

“As someone who has lived among the diaspora on three continents, I can see how important it is for us to connect with the Irish abroad.

The global Irish community is huge, and re-igniting emigrant links with home, is a two-way street that works for everyone,” Casey said. 

Casey added that if elected he would give a breakdown every three months of his expenses after the recent issue of transparency surrounding Higgins’ expenses. 

It had emerged that there is a €317,000 annual allowance which has no State oversight, however, Higgins has said he will return the balance in the Áras account at the end of his presidency. 

“The one thing I’m absolutely certain of is that the President is a very honest person and I’m absolutely certain that any expenses that he incurred were 100% legitimate,” Casey said. 

The father-of-five, who grew up on the Bogside in Derry, has homes in Greencastle, Donegal and Atlanta, Georgia, as well as a base in Dublin. 

He was introduced to the podium earlier today by his wife, Helen, who said she was not surprised that he was running for the presidency as “it’s something he’s said he always wanted to do”. 

Casey faced further questioning from reporters at his presidential campaign launch this afternoon.


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Adam Daly

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