Dragon Casey reveals diagnosis of serious neurological condition
DRAGONS’ Den presidential hopeful Peter Casey has told the Irish Mail on Sunday he has a serious illness – but his campaign team have refused to throw any further light on the topic.
Mr Casey, 61, explained to the MoS this week that although he has yet to secure a nomination from a council, this is partly down to coming late to the contest due to a diagnosis of Guillain-Barré syndrome.
The neurological disease, which is both serious and rare, can be extremely debillitating and affect mobility.
‘The others have had an advantage on me as I was late starting due to being seriously ill,’ he said.
‘Only a few weeks ago I was diagnosed with E Coli and GuillainBarré disease.
‘I ended up in an isolation ward in Piedmont hospital in Atlanta for eight days.’
When later asked to elaborate about Mr Casey’s prognosis, and whether his mobility has been compromised, his spokeswoman would only say: ‘I have seen the questions. If I can get you the information, I will.
‘If you don’t hear from me, I can’t get it.’
The issue of candidates’ health has been raised previously in the current nomination season, due to the age of the incumbent.
One Fine Gael minister warned about President Michael D Higgins’s ablility to function effectively as an 84-year-old President.
‘He is fine now, but seven years is a long time,’ they told the MoS in August.
The issue of capacity was also raised by then-potential presidential contender Pádraig Ó Céidigh, who said some form of health check should be required for candidates.
‘It should confirm the capacity or otherwise of candidates,’ he said.
Mr Ó Céidigh has since ruled himself out of seeking a nomination for the October election.
This week Senator Joan Freeman, and Dragons’ Den stars Seán Gallagher and Gavin Duffy secured their spot on the presidential ballot paper.
Sinn Féin are expected to confirm Liadh Ní Riada – the daughter of composer Seán Ó Riada – as their candidate today.
Mr Casey – who is currently based in Atlanta, Georgia – is still hopeful he will get into the presidential race.
‘I still believe I will get on the ballot paper. The last council to vote is Donegal and I have a base there, so it could come down to that one.’
He added: ‘I think councillors are now waking up to the realisation of the power they have.’
* This is a representation of a likely ballot paper. It includes those who have been nominated by the councils so far, the President who can nominate himself, and the most likely Sinn Féin candidate. Other hopefuls may still make their way on to the ballot paper.