In The run up to the presidential election, candidate Gavin Duffy has said he is “mellowing as a capitalist” and is more open to social policies.
Duffy told The Irish Times that he doesn’t think everything should be determined by cost and that he would like to talk about a more compassionate society. “I do not want my children and your children to be dispensable contractors,” said Duffy.
The candidate has come under backlash after it was revealed that he was involved in a crash, seriously injuring a motorcyclist in 1978. Duffy, now 58, was 18 when the incident occurred.
Duffy also received a driving disqualification in 1981 after being caught driving without insurance or tax, and was later prosecuted for dangeous driving in 1993. Duffy said the dangerous driving was “inexcusable” and claims he has “always put [his] hand up and apologised about that”.
He suggested that his work in pirate radio may have lead to a lower level of respect for the law. He said he has left his “boy racer days” long behind him.
Before venturing into politics, Duffy was a broadcaster, a presenter on Marketplace, and a PR consultant to Denis O’Brien. He was also an investor on the entrepreneurial show Dragons’ Den. Candidates Sean Gallagher and Peter Casey also featured as “Dragons” on the show. Duffy featured on all eight seasons.
He recieved a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016 for his contribution to local businesses and small-to-medium enterprises.
In an interview on RTÉ Radio 1, Duffy said that President Michael D Higgins had “dropped the torch on Northern Ireland”. He said that Higgins’ work in North Ireland did not compare to that of Mary McAleese. “The ground work in Northern Ireland has not happened in this presidential term,” he said.
Duffy said that with an upcoming Brexit, Ireland needs “a major diplomatic offensive in the UK”.
Sinn Féin candidate Liadh Ní Riada said that the people did not want an “establishment” person, or someone who was disconnected from the people, as president.
Duffy said that one of his priorities as president would be to tackle cyber bullying on social media. “The big five tech companies are so powerful now, they’re running the world almost,” he said.
Duffy laid out fives pillars for his campaign: Youth, Age, Diversity and Inclusion, Respect, and Working Together. He said that he has no doubt that the “Office of President would benefit from greater scrutiny, openness and transparency”.
By: Emily Sheahan
Image Credit: Wikipedia