DRAGON’S DEN businessman Seán Gallagher has said if he won the race for the Presidency he would not be in a position to forego the salary.
The Co Donegal man, who is one of a number of people seeking to run as an independent candidate, said the recession had also impacted on his own personal finances.
“I grew a company, and it’s one of the reasons why I led the charge over the last three years... [and] almost everything we made in the last 10 years has been taken from us by a number of unscrupulous developers who couldn’t or wouldn’t pay us.”
He said he had spent the past three years reorganising that company and “the reality is that company in two years time will probably be more successful as a result of the downturn but for me, it hasn’t left me with any wealth”.
“That’s the reality that most businesses are facing at the moment.”
He said the salary was set by the Government and it was not an issue for him, but that he was not concerned with the salary, but rather “the job of work that needs to be done”.
Mr Gallagher is seeking sufficient support from independent members of the Oireachtas to run for President, but he said he had also approached members of other parties, including Fianna Fáil, and that he would also be writing to local authorities seeking support.
Senator David Norris, who is also seeking an Independent nomination, said he was also in talks with independent TDs and Senators, where 20 nominations are required.
Senator Norris said he was meeting with Carlow, Wexford and Waterford County Councils next month in a bid to secure their support, having already had a motion of support passed by Fingal County Council.
However, the Fingal decision needs to be ratified, under regulations, when a returning officer is appointed, at which point it becomes official.
He said he was opposed to Fianna Fáil being labelled “a toxic brand”, particularly now that the party leader, Micheál Martin, had freed up councillors to vote for Independents in the presidential nominations process.
“The Presidency does not belong to any political party, it belongs to the people,” he said.
In addition to Fingal, he said he had also contacted local authorities in Laois, Longford and Meath and had received an “extremely good response”.
While he said he was progressing well in both the internal Oireachtas and external local authority routes towards a nomination, he suggested a 1998 plan that 10,000 validated public signatures would be enough to endorse someone’s candidature should be looked at again.
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