herald

Monday 19 November 2018

Presidential candidate Casey downsizes from €1.7m mansion to Donegal house with sea view

Peter Casey arrives with daughter Siofra and wife Helen for an RTE radio debate.
Peter Casey arrives with daughter Siofra and wife Helen for an RTE radio debate.

Presidential candidate Peter Casey has downsized from a lavish $2m (€1.73m) US mansion to a more modest €250,000 property in Donegal.

The former Dragons' Den star said the decision was taken to sell the family's house in the US as an 11,000sqft home was no longer needed with four of his children away at college.

Mr Casey, who founded US-based recruitment firm Claddagh Resources, has said that the only house he now owns is in Donegal and he spends most of his time there.

He bought the two-storey house, with stunning sea views, in 2014 for €250,000 and spent another €100,000 renovating it.

The Casey family previously lived in the mansion in the leafy Fulton County area of Atlanta, Georgia, for around 20 years before selling up in 2016.

Photographs on US property websites show its luxurious interiors and manicured gardens, complete with an Irish tricolour on the lawn.

The house has six large en-suite bedrooms, as well as a cinema-style entertainment room and wine cellar.

Outside is a swimming pool, a putting green and a barbecue area.

Online listings show that at one point the asking price for the house was $2.29m (€1.98m) but the sum achieved is put at $2.05m (€1.77m) .

Mr Casey's spokesperson confirmed this was the sale price.

"Asked if he had been disappointed that it didn't achieve the asking price, the spokesperson said: "Having purchased the property for $1.4m, it was disappointing to only make $600,000 profit on it."

Mr Casey is quoted as saying: "Not one of my better investments."

The statement said that the Irish flag was installed to honour Good Friday Agreement peacemaker John Hume, who Mr Casey invited to Atlanta for an event that "various notable Irish Americans attended".

Pressure

Separately, another presidential hopeful, Sean Gallagher, has said that he didn't improve his Irish to a point where he could describe himself as fluent over the past seven years because he was "time poor".

However, he said he plans to do so if elected, despite the hectic schedule of the President.

Also a former Dragons' Den star, the businessman said he has had a lot on his plate since he ran in the presidential election seven years ago.

"I think [the language] is important but it's like everything else, we're all time poor and the last seven years have been about establishing business, about helping others, having two children, one of whom is two and doesn't sleep well yet or hasn't mastered the art of sleeping throughout the night yet," he said.

"All of that creates its own pressure - like everybody else."

Now Mr Gallagher is back in contention for the presidency, he has committed to running a "learn with the President" initiative to promote the language and improve his own skills.

"I'm like a lot of people in Ireland, I got an honour in my Leaving Cert in school and I haven't had an opportunity to use it," he said.

Meanwhile, all six candidates have been invited to attend the first televised presidential debate on RTE's Claire Byrne live show tonight.

Just four of the candidates, Sinn Fein's Liadh Ni Riada, senator Joan Freeman, Mr Casey and another 'Dragon', Gavin Duffy, are expected to attend.

President Michael D Higgins has State duties and Mr Gallagher has said he won't take part unless all candidates are present.

RTE's invitation to all candidates remains open right up to the broadcast.

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