Presidential hopeful and Dragons Den star Peter Casey has said that Ireland's neutrality is outdated as he called on the country to align itself with NATO.
Speaking in Leitrim, ahead of meeting councillors about his bid for the Park, the businessman also said that if elected he would give US President Donald Trump a “warm welcome” to Ireland.
Several potential candidates this morning are before the county council in Leitrim to seek nominations to get their name on the ballot paper.
Candidates need the support of four councils or 20 Oireachtas members to enter the race for the October 26 vote.
Speaking to reporters on his way into the meeting, Mr Casey said:
"Neutrality is kind of important if you have war. We don't have a war, and if we did have one we probably wouldn't win it.
"We need to rely on NATO to protect us if we are part of the European block.
"We are obviously European and we have alliances with America. NATO is obviously important to help protect the European continent.
"It is only right and fair that we should contribute our 2% to NATO."
Mr Casey was also asked about US president Donald Trump's visit to Ireland, While saying he disagreed with some of his policies, the businessman said that he would give Mr Trump a “warm welcome” if he wins the presidency.
Donald Trump has indicated he will visit Ireland around the time of the inauguration.
Fellow Dragon's Den star Sean Gallagher is also due to speak to councillors this morning, his first comments since his announcement that he would run again for the Park.
Mr Gallagher secured over half a million votes when he came second after Michael D Higgins in 2011.