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Seán Gallagher pictured at the launch of his campaign in the Shelbourne Hotel Leah Farrell/Rollingnews

'I want to succeed Michael D, not replace him': Sean Gallagher formally launches presidential campaign

Gallagher has committed to introduce 20 ‘special initiatives’ in his first 20 weeks in office if he is elected.

SEAN GALLAGHER HAS revealed that he has made a voluntary disclosure to the Standards in Public Office Commission “in the interests of transparency”.

The announcement comes weeks after scrutiny of presidential spending by the Public Accounts Committee found an annual unaudited allowance of €317,000.

Speaking at the launch of his presidential campaign today, the businessman said that he had made the disclosure because he felt that trust was one of his core values and a cornerstone of democracy.

“In this regard, I have endavoured to lead by example by making a voluntary disclosure to SIPO,” he said.

“If elected head of state, I will acknowledge my responsibility to lead by example in setting benchmarks for transparency and the appropriate use of public funds.”

Gallagher urged the government to carry out an annual audit of all expenditure associated with the office, which he said belonged to the people of Ireland.

He also praised his rival Michael D Higgins as an “inspiring politician”, saying the people of Ireland were tired of negative politics.

“He has given his life [and] he has given a lifetime to public service, and I think he has done a good job,” Gallagher said.

“I think Ireland has changed now, and I have said clearly that I do not see myself as being his replacement, but instead to be his successor and to continue on the great work that he has done.”

If elected, Gallagher committed to introduce 20 ‘special initiatives’ in his first 20 weeks in office, details of which will be announced next week.

Asked whether he could overturn a commanding lead by Higgins in the race for the presidency, Gallagher joked that he was “living proof that unprecedented things happen”, a reference to his controversial election loss in 2011.

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