In relation to a question from Cllr Johnny Mythen about the North of Ireland and reunification, he remarked: ‘I am of the border counties and I genuinely believe that we’ll see a United Ireland in my lifetime. But it will start with a unification of hearts and trust.’
When asked by Cllr John Hegarty, who referred to the late decision to run on this occasions, what he had been doing for the past seven years since the last election, Mr Gallagher explained that the election had been gruelling and he had taken time to recover from it. He said he had not taken lightly the decision to challenge RTE on the Front Line debate issue and said that that process had taken six years. He added that he did not believe in failure, but feedback which he had received plenty of.
He had, he said, become a father over the past seven years, set up a business offering workspaces to companies, largely outside of Dublin, and started writing a column profiling entrepreneurs and their achievements.
He said being an entrepreneur or, for that matter, being the President, was not about making money but about making a difference.
He also agreed with Cllr Tony Dempsey on the notion of tackling cyber crime through new laws but he said that technology was developing so quickly that it was hard to keep up. He felt that action was beginning to be taken on the issue, remarkng that sometimes it could only happen after damage had been done.
Cllr Ger Carthy, offering his support to Mr Gallagher remarked on the 20,000 votes the former Dragon’s Den judge had secured in the 2011 election, saying he was hopeful that people would support his nomination of him.
Finally, actress Sarah Louise Mulligan spoke of how she wanted to be a President who would celebrate Irish people, and mend people’s broken hearts and souls with words and actions.
The self-confessed Donald Trump fan said she had a keen interest in issues surrounding child and elder abuse, suicide, homelessness, pregnancy and pro-life matters.
In the area of mental health, she referred to a case of an 11-year-old child who had announced their intention to commit suicide on a social media account. She pledged to use the same platform to share videos that would help those feeling vulnerable. She also felt that not enough was being done about the issue of elder abuse, something she had written her college thesis on.
She proclaimed to be ‘prolife and proud’, saying that she would happily donate some of her Presidential salary for the setting up of crisis pregnancy centres.
She added that she would have a big problem with signing off on legislation to remove the Eighth Amendment, remarking that she and the Taoiseach would be ‘at loggerheads’ over it.
She said she admired Donald Trump for his pro-life stance and for a lot of his policies, saying she wanted Ireland to be a place where people could speak their mind freely, adding that she would like to see more healthy debate on issues.
Cllr Davy Hynes referred to her admiration for Trump, remarking that anyone could make a mistake! He acknowledged that she had spoken about the abuse of people but said he could not reconcile those concerns with her support for someone who he saw to be a culprit of that.
‘You mentioned free speech but there is a big difference between that and hate speech,’ he pointed out.
Cllr Paddy Kavanagh wished Ms Mulligan well in her endeavours, pointing out that Peter Casey, another candidate, had remarked that he would filter his salary back to councils who had backed him through their chairman. He joked that council chairman Keith Doyle was single and would gladly welcome a move to Aras an Uachtarán!
Senator Joan Freeman at Wexford County Council HQ. Sarah Louise Mulligan at Wexford County Council.