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Presidential hopeful Peter Casey is travelling by helicopter to council meetings

Candidates need the backing of four local authorities to get on the presidential ballot paper.

BUSINESSMAN PETER CASEY is using a helicopter today to travel to and from three council meetings in order to ask councillors for their support to get on the presidential ballot paper.

A spokesperson for the Dragons’ Den investor said that because of “back-to-back” council meetings, “logistically, it would be impossible to cover the ground by road”.

“As he has no control over the timing of council meetings,” a statement said, “he has incurred the expense in order to present his case to the local representatives, thereby supporting the democratic process.”

Council meetings are on today at similar times in a number of councils including Monaghan, Galway and Offaly.

Another presidential hopeful, journalist Gemma O’Doherty, had complained on Twitter last week about several council meetings being held across the country on one day.

“…Presidential candidates are expected to be in Monaghan, Fingal, Kilkenny, Offaly, Galway and Mayo on the same day. This is disrespectful to the office of Head of State and the electorate but yet another example of how democracy in Ireland is broken.”

Casey’s spokesperson said that a helicopter “obviously reduces travelling time, so that he can address all three [in Monaghan, Galway and Offaly], affording the local authorities the opportunity to hear from as many candidates as possible”.

When asked by whether Casey was giving any of his fellow candidates a lift to those same council meetings, his spokesperson said that he wasn’t. 

This afternoon, fellow Dragons’ Den judge Seán Gallagher received his fourth nomination, which secured his name on the ballot. Wexford, Roscommon, Leitrim and Mayo county councils have backed Gallagher.

Carlow and Meath county councils voted for another Dragons’ Den contestant Gavin Duffy as their preferred candidate.

Independent Senator Joan Freeman got the support of Cork City Council last week.

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