10 brilliant films and TV shows we can’t WAIT for this Autumn
10 brilliant films and TV shows we can’t WAIT for this Autumn

Jennifer McShane

Alanis Morissette is distancing from new documentary that claims she was raped at 15
Alanis Morissette is distancing from new documentary that claims she was raped at 15

Holly O'Neill

Dulux have revealed their colour of the year for 2022, here’s how to use it in your home
Dulux have revealed their colour of the year for 2022, here’s how to use it...

Megan Burns

With unbroken sea views and an outdoor Jacuzzi, this architectural home in Kinsale is on the market for €2.35 million
With unbroken sea views and an outdoor Jacuzzi, this architectural home in Kinsale is on...

Lauren Heskin

Liane Moriarty has a new mystery book for your book club
Liane Moriarty has a new mystery book for your book club

Holly O'Neill

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle make Time 100 Most Influential People list
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle make Time 100 Most Influential People list

Holly O'Neill

Meet five Irish embroiderers doing amazing things with needle and thread
Meet five Irish embroiderers doing amazing things with needle and thread

Megan Burns

Saying you are a ‘stay-at-home-mum’ is the ultimate conversation stopper
Saying you are a ‘stay-at-home-mum’ is the ultimate conversation stopper

Amanda Cassidy

The Hygiene Bank’s Sorcha Killian on hygiene poverty and how it’s impacting Irish families every day
The Hygiene Bank’s Sorcha Killian on hygiene poverty and how it’s impacting Irish families every...

Shayna Sappington

Wildfire: ‘We knew we wanted to tell a story with fierce women at the heart of it’
Wildfire: ‘We knew we wanted to tell a story with fierce women at the heart...

Jennifer McShane

Image / Editorial

Who are our six presidential candidates for election 2018?


by Grace McGettigan
03rd Oct 2018
blank

The next Irish presidential election will take place on Friday, 26th October 2018, the same day as the blasphemy referendum. Our ninth and current president, Michael D. Higgins, is seeking his second term in office, but five competitors are contesting him; these are Seán Gallagher, Peter Casey, Gavin Duffy, Joan Freeman, and Liadh Ní Riada. Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s candidates:

Michael D. Higgins

Nominated by: Himself

Political party: Independent (formerly Fianna Fáil and Labour)

Age: 77

President Michael D Higgins - eighth amendment

President Michael D. Higgins is a politician, poet and academic, not to mention a fluent Irish speaker. Originally from Limerick, he studied at University College Galway, where he also acted as vice-auditor of the literary and debating society and president of the UCG students’ union. With a masters degree under his belt, Michael went on to lecture at UCG’s department of political science.

He has been married for 44 years and has four children, plus two Bernese mountain dogs named Bród and Síoda. Before running for President of Ireland in 2011, Michael was active in politics. He was elected to both Dáil Éireann and the Seanad during the eighties while an active member of the Labour Party, and he later served as Mayor of Galway.

President Higgins was elected as our head of state on the 29th October 2011. Shortly after taking office, he requested his annual salary be reduced by 23.5%; from €325,507 to €249,014. As he nears the end of his seven-year term, Michael D. Higgins remains a firm favourite for a second presidential victory.

Seán Gallagher

Nominated by: Wexford, Leitrim, Mayo and Roscommon County Councils

Political party: Independent, (formerly Fianna Fáil)

Age: 56

Seán Gallagher is an Irish businessman and reality TV personality. Originally from Monaghan, he was an active member of Fianna Fáil for 30 years, only stepping away from the party in 2011 to become an Independent candidate. Seán earned a Diploma in Youth Work and Community Development from Maynooth University in 1987, before receiving a Diploma in Management from Dundalk Institute of Technology and an MBA from the University of Ulster.

Seán, who has been married since 2010 and has two children, is most commonly known for his appearance on the RTÉ reality show Dragons Den. He has also worked on the board of InterTradeIreland, FÁS, and vitamin start-up Nutribrand. Seán’s main business venture, Smarthomes, was successful for some time in the early noughties; winning him entrepreneurial awards and millions of euro in revenue. However, by the late noughties, profits plateaued and Sean left the company in 2010.

The businessman also ran for president in the 2011 election against the current President Michael D. Higgins. He was a firm favourite with the public for weeks, but this changed dramatically during a televised debate on RTÉ. When questioned about his past fundraising for Fianna Fáil (the party he had disowned just months before entering the race) by a tweet sent into the show, his explanation proved unsatisfactory with the electorate. The tweet was later proven to be from a fake account.

Liadh Ní Riada

Nominated by: Sinn Fein

Political party: Sinn Fein

Age: 51

Liadh Ní Riada has served as a Member of the European Parliament for South Ireland since 2014. She grew up in a Gaeltacht area of West Cork and has a strong sense of culture and heritage. Since working as an MEP, she has fought for the interests of the Irish people; including rural Ireland, climate change, and social justice.

Liadh is a former television producer with RTÉ and TG4 and is a proud supporter of the Irish artistic community. She has three daughters, all aged in their teens, and a husband of six years. Speaking at her campaign launch, she said, “If I am president, Áras an Uachtaráin will be a welcoming house for all. A process of national reconciliation is central to any genuine effort to unite the people of Ireland. And, if elected, reconciliation will be a theme of my presidency.” Liadh is hopeful for a united Ireland in the face of Brexit.

Peter Casey

Nominated by: Clare, Kerry, Tipperary county councils, and Limerick City Council

Political party: n/a

Age: 61

Another RTÉ Dragons Den personality, Peter Casey is a successful businessman. He was born and raised in Derry before studying Political Economics and Philosophy at Aston University in Birmingham. In the late seventies, Peter joined Rank Xerox UK as a sales representative and quickly moved up the career ladder. He was recognised as one of the best-performing members of his team in the UK, Australia and Asia.

By the mid-eighties, he had the reputation and confidence to set up his first company; the Trinity Group, a search and IT contracting firm based in Sydney. Peter later founded his most successful venture, Claddagh Resources; a global recruitment company. The married father of five reportedly divides his time between his three homes in Donegal, Derry and Atlanta.

Gavin Duffy

Nominated by: Meath, Carlow, Wicklow, and Waterford County Councils

Political party: n/a

Age: 58

The third of the Dragons Den candidates, Gavin Duffy is an Irish entrepreneur and businessman. Originally from a farm in Kildare, Gavin developed an interest in broadcast media after school. He set up a local radio station at the age of 17, which later came to be LMFM. He sold this to UTV for approximately €11 million in 2004.

He also launched a media consultancy firm with his wife in 1992, providing leadership consultancy and corporate training to businesses and individuals across the country. Gavin, who lives with his wife Orlaith and four children in Meath, has been an advisor to political leaders in both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael over the last number of years.

Joan Freeman

Joan Freeman

Nominated by: Cork City Council, Galway City Council, Galway County Council and Fingal County Council

Political party: Independent

Age: 60

Dublin-born candidate Joan Freeman is an independent politician, psychologist and mental health activist. She founded Pieta House, Ireland’s leading suicide prevention charity, in 2006 and the associated fundraising event ‘Darkness Into Light’ in 2008.

Joan, who is a married mum-of-four, joined the Seanad in 2016 after being nominated by then-Taoiseach Enda Kenny. She also helped to form Ireland’s first Committee on the Future of Mental Healthcare. While she knows, as president, she would not be able to implement policy; she says that she nonetheless hopes to encourage and inspire action.


The Irish presidential election 2018 will take place on Friday, 26th October, between 7 am and 10 pm at all usual polling stations. To check if you’re eligible to vote, see the electoral register here

Also Read

blank
premium EDITORIAL
EVENT: How To Master the Art of Negotiation

We sit down with Negotiation Strategist Natalie Reynolds, discussing key tactics and strategies used to master the art of negotiation...

By Shayna Sappington

brain
EDITORIAL
8 easy ways to keep your brain healthy that you can do right now

Your brain health is just as important as that of the rest of your body, says psychologist and neuroscientist Dr...

By IMAGE

Mandy Moore pumping
EDITORIAL
Mandy Moore climbed an active volcano at dawn… while pumping

Hiking a mountain and breast pumping – now, that’s what we call multitasking at its finest. Mandy Moore enjoyed an...

By Sarah Finnan

blank
EDITORIAL
‘We have not heeded the warnings sufficiently’: The health emergency we’ve ignored while focusing on the pandemic

The climate change debate has been going on for so long its become white noise. But this week, the effects...

By Amanda Cassidy

Keith-_-Tara_130_Web Shantanu Starick painting kitchen cabinets
EDITORIAL
How to limit drips and brush strokes while painting kitchen cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets can be transformative and can be achieved relatively low-cost, but you need the right equipment, and a lot of...

By Amanda Kavanagh

alternative asthma treatments
EDITORIAL
Three alternative asthma treatments to try this hayfever season

Approximately 80% of people with asthma also suffer from hayfever, which can make summer days a nightmare. These three alternative...

By Grace McGettigan

blank
EDITORIAL
Attending multiple weddings this year? How to save money as a guest

These days, going to a wedding is the equivalent of going on a short holiday in terms of cost. From...

By Jennifer McShane