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Thursday 18 October 2018

Enter the Dragons for a punt at the Aras

Michael D Higgins
Michael D Higgins

It looks like we're going to have a presidential contest. After months of "will he/will he" speculation, Michael D Higgins has confirmed he will be seeking a second term in Aras an Uachtarain.

Forecasters have already made him a strong favourite, the result of what has hitherto been a tatty list of potential competitors and the fact that he has apparently done an admirable job over the past seven years.

The latter is a tad ironic, bearing in mind that one of the very few utterances I remember him making in all that time was the promise that he wouldn't be seeking a second term.

However, if the speculation this week is anything to go by, maybe his re-election is not guaranteed, because it seems that not only is former candidate Sean Gallagher planning to run, but Gavin Duffy is too.

Intriguing

This, of course, opens up the intriguing possibility that we may have two former members of the Dragons' Den panel running against each other for the post of President. All of which got me thinking.

How would a contestant get on if they were pitching the post of President of Ireland to the Dragons' Den panel?

Picture the scene. You nervously tread the famous wooden floor and start your pitch.

"I've this great idea for a political post," you intone. "It's called Uachtarain na hEireann."

You're asked about the President's powers.

"Well, none really. I can't make any political decisions. In fact, you're not allowed to express any political opinions.

"However, you can strike down and bring new laws into being, but only when a politician puts a piece of paper in front of you and tells you to."

"So, what's the point of the job?" the panel continue.

"Well, I can represent Ireland at home and abroad," you say. "I welcome visiting dignitaries and travel to other countries to promote trade, tourism, things like that."

"You mean like politicians, Tourism Ireland, the IDA and businesses already do?" the panel ask.

"Er... yes, but I can also talk generally about social injustice, the need for inclusiveness, the importance of the past, how children are our future."

"Can you be a bit more specific?" a restless Dragon interrupts.

"Of course," you say. "I'm going to make hard-hitting comments about the plight of the homeless."

You're asked where you live.

"Oh, in a 95-room mansion, but it won't seem empty as I'd have 18 people working for me in the kitchen and a few more to write speeches, tend the gardens, look after security, chauffeur me around and fly me by private jet."

The Dragons want to know what kind of investment you're looking for.

"I'm looking at a seven-year commitment. My salary will be €1.5m, plus €12m for my staff, €5m to look after the gaff, €2m for travel plus various incidentals. Let's round it up at €30m."

The only Dragon who can still speak asks: "If we don't commit, who's going to pay for all this?"

"You are," you reply. "After all, the taxpayer will be picking up the tab."

"Thanks," say all the Dragons in unison, "but we're out."

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