Dragons’ Den judge Sean Gallagher has claimed numerous people from across the county have contacted him, offering their support following a decision by Longford County Council to provisionally support his candidacy ahead of the upcoming presidential elections.
The Cavan entrepreneur said his office has fielded several calls from members of the public in recent days, just days after councillors supported a motion to “give notice of its intent” to back his presidential campaign.
Mr Gallagher also expressed his disappointment at the political tactics employed by some parties, namely Fine Gael in the ratification of potential presidential candidates at local authority level.
“It is disappointing that Fine Gael councillors are being instructed by their party headquarters and leadership to oppose and vote against any candidate that comes before a council,” he said.
“On the back of the support that I have received from Longford County Council last week, I’ve been inundated with messages of congratulations from throughout Longford, with people expressing the desire to see an Independent candidate have the opportunity to contest the election and commending the members of Longford Co. Council for their decision.”
On Friday, Mr Gallagher spent much of the day locked in talks with a number of county councillors as he looks to secure the support of four local authorities or 20 Oireachtas members in the race for the Aras.
On the topic of last week’s controversial Longford County Council meeting and subsequent revelation by the Leader that leading executives were discussing the fallout with legal representatives, Mr Gallagher said he was well aware his endorsement could be re-visited by councillors later this year.
“I was heartened to have been supported by the members of Longford County Council at their June Council meeting last week, in my quest to obtain a nomination for the Presidency.
“While the Council will have to formally ratify the decision after the making of the Presidential Election Order, it is heartening to have been supported at this stage by the members of Longford Co. Council.”
There were words of praise too for the two councillors who led the charge to ensure his nomination was accepted by the majority of sitting local representatives.
“I’d like to thank Cllr Martin Mulleady and Cllr Paul Connell who proposed and seconded the motion at the meeting of the Council. At the moment I’m concentrating on meeting with councillors throughout the country, in an effort to secure their support. I’m delighted that the councillors from Labour, Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein throughout the country, have been given a free vote by their party to support the nomination of Independent candidates such as myself,” he said.
With over half a dozen potential front-runners, a date in early November has been mooted as day when voters will get the chance to decide who will replace Mary McAleese as the ninth president of Ireland.