Race For The Áras - Who Are The Presidential Candidates?

Race For The Áras - Who Are The Presidential Candidates?

17 Sep 2018

The race for Áras an Uachtaráin is heating up with five candidates officially confirmed for the Presidential Election.

Ireland will go to the polls to elect a president on October 26th with Michael D Higgins, Seán Gallagher, Gavin Duffy, Joan Freeman and Liadh Ní Riada preparing their campaigns. 

What do we know about these five candidates?


Michael D Higgins

President Higgins has been in the Áras since 2011 and has decided to run for a second term. He saw off the rest of the field with 56.8% to become the 9th President of Ireland.

The 77 year old was born in Limerick, grew up in Clare, but has a strong connection to Galway where he went to college and then went on to become Mayor of the city.

He first entered politics in the 1960s and has been there ever since. 


Seán Gallagher

Originally from Monaghan but raised in Cavan, this isn't Seán Gallagher's first time to run for president. He was part of the 2011 Election where he was beaten by Michael D Higgins.

The 56 year old businessman is probably best known for featuring on Dragon's Den in recent years.

He's back for a second crack at the whip though. 


Gavin Duffy

Gavin Duffy, like Seán Gallagher, is known for being both a businessman and a former Dragon's Den star.

At 58 years of age, the Kildare native started his career as a shareholder in radio stations, and he has worked as both a Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil adviser. 

He secured his name on the ballot paper on after gaining the support of the Meath, Carlow, Wicklow and Waterford County Councils.


Joan Freeman

Joan Freeman is the founder of Pieta House, a suicide intervention charity that was founded back in 2006. With centres across the country, the 60 year old also founded the event Darkness Into Light.

Senator Freeman was elected to the Seanad in 2016 by former Taoiseach Enda Kenny and now chairs Ireland's first Committee on the Future of Mental Healthcare.

She holds an undergraduate degree and MA in psychology.


Liadh Ní Riada

Before entering politics, Liadh Ní Riada worked for both RTÉ and TG4 as a director and producer. She was elected to the European parliament in 2014 where she officially became an MEP. 

She was announced as the fifth candidate in the 2018 Presidential race after she was put forward by Sinn Féin at their Ard Comhairle on Satuday the 16th of September.

The 51 year old was born in Dublin but raised in Cork, and she is a fluent Irish speaker and  she has been a vocal advocate for Irish language rights.