Election candidates refusing salary 'demeans the office of President', says Justice Minister

Update 12.15pm: The Justice Minister says presidential hopefuls who say they won't take the salary if elected are demeaning the office.

Senator Joan Freeman is just one of the potential candidates who has declined to say if she will take the salary.

Businessman Peter Casey entered the running for a nomination this morning, joining fellow Dragon's Den co-stars Gavin Duffy and Sean Gallagher.

Minister Charlie Flanagan says the crowded field does not change Fine Gael's stance.

"I acknowledge one of the putitive candidates saying that he wouldn't take the salary.

"I think that demeans the office of President.

"I look forward, as a democrat, however, to a robust presidential campaign.

I and the Fine Gael party will be fully supporting Michael D Higgins and no other candidate.

Earlier: Dragon's Den star Peter Casey seeking Presidential nomination

Update 7.24am: Businessman Peter Casey has announced that he is seeking a nomination to run in the Presidential election.

The recruitment entrepreneur is the third star of Dragon's Den to enter the race after Gavin Duffy and Sean Gallagher.

They will be among more than 10 hopefuls looking for the backing of four county councils or 20 Oireachtas members, in order to get on the ballot with current President Michael D Higgins.

Councils can formally nominate candidates from today and have until September 26 to do so.

Peter Casey

Meanwhile, some of the hopefuls including Mr Gallagher are preparing to speak to several councils next Monday. Leitrim, Wexford, Meath, Cork City, and Kerry among other authorities will meet.

Kilkenny County Council will also meet this Friday and hear from presidential hopefuls. But Mr Gallagher will not be there.

Elsewhere, a majority of councillors on Offaly County Council look set to back Mr Gallagher.

Fianna Fáil’s eight councillors will nominate him, the party’s council chairman Eamon Dooley said last night.

It is thought independent councillors in Offaly will also back Mr Gallagher ensuring at least one council’s support. He requires four to get on the ballot paper.

Offaly’s Fianna Fáil councillors said while the parliamentary party decided not to nominate a candidate, its councillors are free, if they so wish, to facilitate the nomination of an independent candidate.

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