Dragons’ Den star joins race to be Ireland president

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A businessman and star of Ireland’s Dragons’ Den will contest the country’s presidential election after receiving his required fourth council nomination on Friday.

Gavin Duffy became the fourth official candidate for October’s poll after he secured the backing from Waterford County Council.

At the special council meeting he secured 14 votes over journalist and would-be candidate Gemma O’Doherty’s two votes and one abstention from Sinn Fein.

The former Dragons’ Den star was previously endorsed by councils in Meath, Carlow and Wicklow.

“It’s great to get the fourth nomination and to now be a candidate to contest the presidential election of 2018,” he said.

Mr Duffy said he was heartened to receive support from across the council chamber in Waterford, including the backing of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour members.

“It’s great to be attracting that cross-party support which I have done throughout a number of councils,” he told RTE.

“I’m looking forward to really going out and being able to state my case to the people and go forth and being elected president of Ireland.”

Mr Duffy started his career as a shareholder in radio stations, and in 1992 he co-founded a media and management consultancy.

He has been a panellist on the Irish version of Dragons’ Den for all eight seasons since the show began in 2009.

Mr Duffy has worked in the past as an adviser to both Fine Gael and Fianna Fail.

Mr Duffy has said he would accept the full presidential salary of 350,000 euro.

The current President, Michael D Higgins, has voluntarily reduced his own salary to under 250,000 euro while in office.

Mr Duffy will join another former Dragons’ Den star Sean Gallagher and Senator Joan Freeman who reached the quota on Monday, an unnamed Sinn Fein candidate, and current President Michael D Higgins.

The election takes place on October 26.

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