Seán Gallagher is running for the Irish Presidency for a second time after losing to President Michael D Higgins seven years ago.
His main campaign is on employment which he believes is at the “root” of community, sustainability and good mental health. Topics which Joan Freeman and Michael D Higgins have focused on strongly also in their campaigns.
“I believe that our young people represent 25 per cent of the population but a 100 per cent of the future,” said Gallagher to The College View.
In years since Gallagher lost the last presidential race, his main focus has been on employment.
Gallagher believes he can “do for jobs what Mary McAleese did for the peace process.”
Gallagher was leading in the polls in 2011 until the “Tweetgate” controversy where Pat Kenny read out a tweet which alleged Gallagher had financially corrupt involvement with Fianna Fáil.
“I am the living proof that unprecedented things can happen in the closing days,” said Gallagher, after the first Presidential debate on Saturday, when asked if how he felt about being behind in the poles.
Higgins is a strong favourite to win the 2018 Presidential Election, with 70 per cent support from the Irish public, according to a recent poll, ahead of the first official debate between himself, Gallagher and the four other candidates.
Fianna Fáil backed Gallagher in 2011 but have not done so this time. Other candidates received political backing such as Higgins with Labour and Liadh Ní Riada with Sinn Féin.
Gallagher is one of three other Dragon’s from the programme Dragon’s Den contesting the Presidency.
The businessman, originally from County Cavan, stated in his 60-second presidential pitch that he “overcame adversity” and added that it wasn’t his story but “your” story, when addressing the people of Ireland.
Gallagher is the father of two children and the husband of Patricia Gallagher.
His alma maters include Teagasc Agricultural College, Maynooth University, Dundalk Institute of Technology and the University of Ulster where he earned his masters.
Gallagher ran for a second time as he believes “Ireland is changing and the next President needs to provide a fresh approach at this important juncture for Ireland.
“We have as a people an opportunity to redefine the role of President in the context of a changing society, while cherishing all that is unique about Ireland,” he added.
By Cáit Caden
Image Credit: David Conachy