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Thursday 21 September 2023 Dublin: 13°C
# Race Is On
Sean Gallagher confirms he WILL seek a nomination to run for president
After weeks of speculation, the former candidate has formally declared he will seek to run again. / YouTube

BUSINESSMAN, AND FORMER presidential candidate, Sean Gallagher has confirmed he will seek a nomination to run again for president of Ireland.

Gallagher has finally signalled his intentions after weeks of speculation that he would seek to contest the presidential race again, and a number of councillors have already said they will support him.

In a statement, he said that the Irish people have an “opportunity to redefine the role of president in the context of a changing society, while cherishing all that is unique about Ireland”. 

He also said that the next president needs to provide a “fresh approach” to an Ireland that is changing. 

It comes after Minister Eoghan Murphy formally signed the order paper for the 2018 presidential election yesterday, setting a polling date of Friday 26 October.

The businessman was one of six candidates who lost out to Michael D Higgins in the 2011 presidential election. Higgins secured 39.6% of first preference votes, while Gallagher came second with 28.5%.

It’s understood he has already held discussions with individual councillors as part of efforts to get them to support his bid.

To get on the ballot, he must win the backing of 20 members of the Dáil and Seanad, or four full local authorities. 

Gallagher said that motions have been submitted in ten separate local authorities calling for his nomination. 

Last time out, he secured the backing of Meath, Leitrim, and Clare county councils and Cork City Council.

He added: “If I am honoured to be nominated as a candidate I will set out a clear and compelling vision for the people of Ireland to assess in the context of an engaging and energetic Presidential election campaign.”

Gallagher is one of a host of prospective candidates to challenge Higgins, with businessman Gavin Duffy, activist Kevin Sharkey, independent Senator Joan Freeman, and journalist Gemma O’Doherty also seeking to get on the ballot.

Duffy was first to release a statement on Gallagher’s intentions, saying he “noted” the announcement. 

“I note the announcement by Seán Gallagher of his intention to seek the required four county council nominations to qualify as a candidate for the presidency. It is desirable that councillors – and ultimately, the people – have a wide choice from which to select their nominee.”

Sinn Féin’s David Cullinane was critical of Gallagher’s entry to the race today, stating that he is part of the establishment and does not, in his opinion, “offer a future for Ireland”. 

With Gavin Duffy, Seán Gallagher and mutterings of another ‘dragon’ entering the contest, Peter Casey, the Waterford TD was asked if his party is afraid of dealing with three dragons. 

“We compete with dragons in every election,” he said. Cullinane said ultimately, it will be the public who make up their own minds about who to elect. 

With reporting from Christina Finn

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