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Peter Casey: The US-based businessman standing in the Irish presidential election

Casey is the third panellist from the Irish version of ‘Dragon’s Den’ to become an official candidate and will run as an independent 

Ben Kelly
Sunday 28 October 2018 09:45 GMT
Irish Minister for Justice backs Michael D Higgins for re-election

Businessman Peter Casey is the latest independent candidate to secure a nomination for the Irish presidential election taking place on 26 October.

After winning the backing of four county councils, the former Dragon’s Den star will stand as independent in the election – in which he will face two other investors from the popular Irish show.

Casey has never held political office before, and only declared his candidacy in recent weeks. He is the sixth name to be confirmed for the election.

Who is Peter Casey?

Originally from Derry in Northern Ireland, Casey began his career in sales at Rank Xerox UK before moving to work in Sydney, Australia. It was here that he set up his first company, The Trinity Group – a search and IT contracting firm.

He moved to Atlanta in the US in the 1990s and set up recruitment firm Claddagh Resources. In 2000, he chose Donegal in Ireland as the company’s European headquarters, and has also expanded to Dublin.

Casey appeared as an investor on the Irish version of Dragon’s Den in series five and six.

He lives with his wife and five children in Atlanta, and also spends time at home in Derry and Donegal in Ireland.

What does he stand for?

In the past, Casey has flirted with running for seats in both houses of the Irish parliament, but such a move never came to fruition. This is his first foray into politics.

In an interview with The Sunday Business Post earlier this month, he advocated for Ireland ending its policy of neutrality and boosting defence spending. He also suggested the country should try to broker a better deal from the EU, and said he wasn’t sure about presidential hopefuls declaring their business interests.

He has criticised current President Michael D Higgins – who is famously left wing – for his warm obituaries to controversial Latin American leaders Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez.

Casey believes in voting rights for Irish emigrants, which is a topic likely to come up during this campaign. It is expected that a referendum on granting the diaspora votes in presidential elections will be held in Ireland as early as next year.

What are his chances of winning?

As he doesn’t have the backing of a political party, Casey has made his way to the ballot by gaining the backing of four county councils – Tipperary, Limerick, Clare and Kerry.

Casey will face off against Michael D Higgins, Sinn Féin’s Liadh Ní Riada, independent Senator Joan Freeman, as well as fellow businessmen Sean Gallagher and Gavin Duffy.

It is largely expected that Higgins – who is running with the support of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour – will safely win a second term. Second place will likely be a toss up between Gallagher – who came second in the 2011 election – and Ní Riada, who will have the Sinn Féin party machinery behind her campaign.

Casey, Freeman and Duffy are expected to poll only a few per cent each.

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