Seven-year presidency 'long enough', says Gavin Duffy

Dragon's Den star and businessman Gavin Duffy has said seven years is long enough for anyone to hold the position of President.

Speaking at the formal launch of his campaign to become President, Mr Duffy criticised the decision of Michael D Higgins to row back on his commitment to only serve one term.

Mr Duffy launched his campaign on Tuesday in a business centre in Smithfield, Dublin, surrounded by supporters and family.

At a press conference, Mr Duffy was asked if elected would he seek a second term in office.

“I think seven years is long enough for anybody in any job. You’ve either delivered at that stage or not,” he said.

He, however, then said he would make up his mind about a second term after six years, if elected.

Mr Duffy moved to clarify earlier comments he made about how he intends to fund his campaign.

Having previously said he had secured a loan off his family home for the value of €750,000, the maximum amount allowed, he said he now intends to spend only €300,000 on his campaign and this money will come from his savings.

Asked about his business interests, Mr Duffy, aged 58, said he has never had any issue with tax, with bad debts or with litigation during his career.

He said he was very proud of his record of compliance in his 30-year career.

“I am saying here you will not find anything in my track record. I know in my business there never has been a tax issue, a bad debt issue, I have never been involved in litigation. It’s not to say there have not been difficulties, I just don’t see litigation as a route to take,” he said.

He went further by also referring to questions that might relate to his personal life.

Mentioning his wife, Orlaith Carmody, who was seated in the front row, he said:

A big consideration for us entering the race, was there anything in our personal lives that could embarrass our children (they have four adult children)? There is not.

He rejected criticisms made of him that he is a voice of the establishment and out of touch with real Ireland.

He said as the son of a pig farmer and as someone who grew up in shops and pubs, he knows a lot about the issues affecting the people.

During questioning, he was asked about consultancy work he did for businessman Denis O’Brien in the wake of the Moriarty Tribunal.

Mr Duffy said he had done about 40 hours of work for him and his companies over 20 years and had billed him for a total of €18,000.

Despite being asked repeatedly, Mr Duffy refused to disclose the nature of the advice, citing client confidentiality.

Asked about his public service record, and about the charge that those entering the race are wealthy business people, he asserted that just because of their status that should not mean they should be excluded.

“Are we saying that we can only have people in some of these positions if they have never worked in the real world. That seems to be the tenor of what’s emerging in this election and that concerns me slightly,” he said with some animation.

He said he is the candidate who would be best equipped to face the challenge of Brexit and uncertain economic times.

‘It’s time for a different type of president who will be able to face those challenges,” he said.

More on this topic

Joe Biden defends behaviour towards women

Higgins spent €1.7m on hospitality during first term

Peter Casey hits out at 'unprofessional, patronising and insulting' Ryan Tubridy

Peter Casey offered Renua leadership after FF rejection

More in this Section

Man arrested after school gate murder

Man escapes car that entered the sea in Co Clare

Personalities may change but the issues remain, says Coveney in wake of May's Therexit

Supreme Court to consider state bid for appeal over Graham Dwyer data ruling


All of the most opulent and OTT gowns from the Cannes Film Festival

H&M has announced its latest incredible designer collaboration – and it goes on sale tomorrow

Ask an expert: What’s the best way to quickly potty train my toddler?

Album review: Flying Lotus - Flamagra

More From The Irish Examiner