Peter Casey, the candidate in October’s presidential election, is recording a series of “individual reports” for Newstalk, the radio station owned by Denis O’Brien.
However, a spokesman denied that he was being given his own regular show or that he was a potential replacement for the weekend slot vacated by George Hook.
Mr Casey, who finished second in the presidential election with 23 per cent of the vote, is understood to be authoring several 15-20 minute segments for the Communicorp station, which will run across its main weekday shows.
Ryan Tubridy and Peter Casey on last Friday’s Late Late Show
Ahead of last Friday’s Late Late Show, Ryan Tubridy teased his RTE Radio 1 viewers about the show’s guest list promising appearances by former President Mary Robinson and recent Presidential runner-up Peter Casey.
Mr Tubridy told his listeners:
“Peter Casey, of course, [will be] joining us as well tonight. We’ve heard a lot about Peter Casey but I would argue that we haven’t seen a lot of the man who got over 300,000 votes, numbers ones don’t forget, in the Presidential election, but obviously came second.
And we will put everything to him and it will be a fair and reasonable exchange and that’s happening tonight among other things….”
Later, he added:
“…..A texter says ‘I’m actually I’m actually embarrassed that Peter Casey is going to be on the Late Late on the same night as Mary Robinson, the chasm between them is so huge and it is really not mannerly to have them on the same night but I love the show but seriously come on, she deserves to not have her message diluted by populism’.
I understand that and appreciate the point but the nature of the show is you get all class of opinion. We would have asked Mrs Robinson on to the show a long time before we knew Peter Casey was to be such a big story which he became and what you call ignorant populism was something that resounded and resonated with over 330,000 people in this country so you cant just dismiss that out of hand either.
You don’t have to watch the interview with Peter Casey. You’re welcome to watch the interview with Mrs Robinson and see how it goes. There’s no rudeness intended at all. It’s just the nature of the show. that varies with twists and turns along the way. It’s quite a programme in that respect. I accept what you’re saying to a point but you’ll also see where we’re coming from I hope..”
Ryan Tubridy and Presidential runner-up Peter Casey.
A sloppy ambush, you say?
#latelate Peter Casey got 23% of the vote, I wanted to know why, did I find out? No. That was a crass, shameful, embarrassing “interview”. Typical of RTE and Tubridy. Scandalous, car crash public broad casting.
The @CaseyPeterJ interview on #latelate is possibly the worst interview I’ve witnessed on media in this country. Tubridys shouty, out of control and childish behaviour was embarrassing to watch. Felt sorry for Casey because he wasn’t listened to once or allowed finish a sentence. https://t.co/a7Ee8zvScx
I generally like Tubridy, but he is making it virtually impossible for Peter Casey to articulate his views. I know Casey isn’t the most articulate to begin with, but Tubridy is making no attempt to mask his bias, constantly interrupting him. Very poor. #LateLate
Wow! Never usually tweet, but that was an appalling biased interview by Ryan Tubridy. Regardless of personal opinions, shouldn’t journalism be fair? You finished well #petercasey#latelate#rte#LateLateShow
Not Ryan Tubridy’s finest hour. I think this interview has played right into Casey’s hands. He will have garnered sympathy and consolidated support from Tubridy’s mishandling and obvious antipathy. #latelate
‘…While his detractors worked themselves into a frenzy over his comments about Travellers, it was his remarks about Ireland becoming a welfare state and his expression of sympathy for “people who pay for everything and get nothing in return” that really struck a chord with voters.
That message is similar to one we have been preaching for some time. It is why we backed Mr Varadkar as a future leader of Fine Gael as soon as he presented himself as an alternative to the suffocating consensus that was slowly killing robust political debate.
Not any more. Mr Varadkar has become yet another social democrat, and left those on the centre right without a party to represent their interests.
Fine Gael strategists would be unwise to dismiss Mr Casey’s vote as an aberration. The businessman’s campaign was shambolic and his public utterances were often bumbling, incomprehensible even, but by actually speaking his mind he managed to breach the stultifying political correctness that sanitises most statements made by our career politicians.
Sir Anthony O’Reilly used to quip that a gap in the market was not enough to create a business; there had to be a market in the gap. Mr Casey has found the gap. Now, is there a party up to the task of exploiting it?’
Editorial, Sunday Times Ireland edition (behind paywall)
Former presidential hopeful Peter Casey at Cabragh Bridge, Thurles, Co Tipperary on October 18, during his campaign
The Traveller families at Cabragh Bridge in Thurles, Co Tipperary have released the following statement:
“Different elements of the media are now asking us for our opinion about what seems to be a big support for Peter Casey in the presidential election.
Our family has already gone through hell because of the hatred directed against us in all of this. And we have had to learn very quickly that the media were happy to play a very big part in it all.
Nobody seemed to want to know the truth because it was getting in the way of a good sensational media story.
It was a good story that we were demanding houses so that was what was printed – even though we never even asked for houses in the first place.
It was a good story that we demanded stables built and acres for each family, so that was what was printed – even though we have never even asked for this.
At no time did the media question the [Tipperary] County Council here about the real story and how they used us and whipped up public opposition so they could go back on their original agreement.
Only a couple of journalists even wanted to know the full story and even they had a problem getting the truth printed.
We have suffered from all these lies and hatred and our children have suffered.
We have never got a fair hearing and, when people are asking us now what we think about the election, we are talking only to journalists and interviewers that we can trust.
Are we surprised at the big amount of support for Casey?
No. We are not.
Casey was able to pick the worst of people in Irish society and set them up against each other. When you get the settled people to put the blame on the Travellers for everything, then nobody needs to question who is really responsible for the terrible conditions the government has people living in.
A lot of settled people saw through these lies, and we would like to thank them for their support in our dignified protest when Mr Casey decided to ‘visit’ us.
Casey probably now feels he has got somewhere through using us and and all the Traveller community in a hate campaign.
So we know he will keep going and there will be probably a lot more Caseys coming out when they see this works.
We have learned a lot from this very big ordeal we were put through.
We are asking the media now to learn from it as well.
Please check out the facts before you use people in this way – no matter how popular it might be to run down Travellers.”
“I thought this morning, maybe there is something to President John Connors, because of what that would mean to young Travellers, and young working-class people from Darndale and Coolock and Blanchardstown and Ballymun…”
John Connor (middle) following the vote surge for Peter Casey (top)
The ‘Our Man In Stockholm podcast with Sweden-based, Irish journalist Philip O’Connor meets actor and human rights activist John Connors (top) to discuss Peter Casey’s second place in the Presidential election, the media’s attitude to travellers and a possible tilt at the Áras in 2025.
Peter Casey and Helen Casey at RTÉ Television studios on Tuesday
Readers of Iconic Newspapers websites, which include the Limerick Leader, have voted overwhelmingly in favour of Peter Casey in a Presidential Election Poll that has been running over the past few days.
Websites in the group include: limerickleader.ie; kilkennypeople.ie; leinsterexpress.ie; offalyexpress.ie; leinsterleader.ie; longfordleader.ie; leitrimobserver.ie; donegaldemocrat.ie; tipperarystar.ie; nationalist.ie; dundalkdemocrat.ie; carlowlive.ie and waterfordlive.ie.
Almost 10,500 votes were cast in the Presidential Election poll that ran on all 13 websites, including the Leader, in the Iconic Newspaper group, with Peter Casey winning the overall poll with 51.2% of the votes cast.
At a special meeting last month, Fine Gael councillor Michael Sheahan seconded Mr Casey’s nomination after being proposed by Fianna Fail’s member in Newcastle West Michael Collins.
Asked if he would have seconded him had he known Mr Casey’s views on Irish Travellers, Cllr Sheahan said: “No, simple as that”.
…Solidarity councillor Cian Prendiville, who did not nominate a candidate and abstained in the vote, said:
“I think all those councillors, particularly those in Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil need to come out and nail their colours to the mast and say this is not acceptable. What he is trying to do is whip up hatred, fear and prejudice.”
Presidential hopeful Peter Casey spoke to Áine Lawlor – in light of his announcement that he will be taking a break from the campaign this weekend to consider whether or not he will continue to run for president.
His name is already on the ballot.
The decision to take a break follows criticism of him saying he didn’t believe Travellers should get ethnic minority status – despite this passing in May of last year.
And he made further comments about Travellers in Thurles, Co Tipperary where a number of families from the Travelling community are refusing to move into newly built homes because of a dispute with Tipperary County Council.
A statement from the Travelling families involved about the matter can be read here.
During this afternoon’s radio, following a visit to the location of the homes yesterday, Mr Casey said: “There’s not a racist bone in my body.”
From the News At One interview…
Mr Casey started out saying the past 48 hours had been “strange to say the least”.
Peter Casey: “I’ve been accused of being a racist. This is just absolutely not what my campaign is about. I’m going to take the weekend and I’m going to reflect on it and I’m going to talk to my family and my wife and my children and my advisors and I’ll make a decision on Monday as to what’s the right thing to do.”
“I mean I promised my mother I was going to stand years ago for the presidency of Ireland. She would not want to me to stand if I was going to get elected on this platform. That is not what I’m about.
“You know I feel very passionate that there is things that need to be done, like, for example, I set up my business in Buncrana and, you know, it’s just…
Áine Lawlor: “All right..”
Casey: “It’s, you know, it’s just so wrong…”
Lawlor: “Ok, let’s take this step by step because you seem quite upset. Are you?”
Casey: “I am, yes.”
Lawlor: “Were you surprised by the reaction to your remarks about Travellers in Cabra and Thurles.”
Casey: “You know, I was surprised beyond belief. I thought we’d got way beyond this. I didn’t even realise that there had been this law passed last year giving special ethnic status to…”
Lawlor: “You didn’t know that Travellers were recognised in Irish law? Under Irish law?”
Casey: “I didn’t. I hadn’t realised that.”
Lawlor: “That this is a conversation and indeed a campaign that had been waged a long time and it had come up several times over several…”
Casey: “There’s so many things that have been going on. I’ve been, as you know, it’s only in the last year or so that I’ve moved back full time to Ireland so it’s…”
Lawlor: “So you didn’t realise what you were getting into when you said that?”
Casey: “No idea. I thought we were way beyond that. We are such a melting pot of different cultures, nationalities, you know, we’ve got so many, we’ve got 120,000 Polish people here, we’ve got African people, people from Africa, people from all over, you know, all over the world. All these different nationalities now proudly call Ireland their home. And I thought we were beyond…The Proclamation says ‘cherish all the children of the nation equally’….
Lawlor: “Well a lot of people thought we were way beyond, as a nation, having Travellers singled out by any candidate who…”
Casey: “That’s wrong…”
Lawlor: “And pitting them against the homeless in Dublin?”
Casey: “I wasn’t pitting them against the homeless in Ireland. I was pointing out the absurdity of these amazing houses sitting there empty because people were demanding that they would be given stables and an acre of land….”
Lawlor: “But you didn’t afford the Travellers of Cabra, they said, afterwards, and they were upset. You’re upset that they were upset because you didn’t meet them.”
Casey: “That is absolutely not true. It was well known that I was coming down there. I announced I was coming down there to meet with them, to meet with Martin Collins. And I announced that I was coming down. I went down there with my wife and we stood there for 15 minutes or so, answered questions, they all, there were literally 25/30 yards across the road….”
Lawlor: “Were those people, people whose votes you are seeking, were they not entitled to the courtesy, particularly when you, as a candidate were using all the attention that comes with being a candidate, to highlight this issue and their dispute with the council. Were they not entitled to the courtesy of the candidate at least coming up and saying, face to face, ‘do you know what? Here’s my problem. And here, as president, is why, how I would like to address it.”
Casey: “I felt it was inappropriate for me to go over. There was like 25 to 30 cameraman there. I felt it would have been invasive…”
Lawlor: “Your office could have said something …”
Casey: “They knew I was there, they knew I was 30 yards away…”
Lawlor: “And they knew what you’d said about them…”
Casey: “And I waited for them, I waited for them to come over, I said ‘they know I’m here’. There was two police cars at either side, the road was [inaudible], everybody knew I was there. And then I went up to the Hayes Hotel and a councillor John Cross came up and said ‘I think you should go back down’ and I said, cause they’re holding, they waited until I left before they came out with their placards and then held a press conference, they waited until I drove off. They timed it…”
Lawlor: “Was that not the right of any citizen of this Republic to protest?”
Casey: “It is but you then can’t say that I didn’t go to meet them, I did go to meet them. And I then went…”
Lawlor: “But it was up to them to approach you?”
Casey: “It would have been wrong for me to go and knock on their door with a whole world of interviewers and they were actually, you know, aggressive, some of them. One of them was actually quite rude to me. And I felt…I then went to the Hayes Hotel and invited them to come up. Margaret Casey, ironically, is one of the leaders, and the councillor contacted her and said ‘look, Peter’s here, he’s absolutely happy to sit here and wait for you to come up and meet with him’. And she declined the offer. And I said ‘I’ll go down and see here anytime she wants to meet with me, I’m prepared to talk’.”
Lawlor: “There are many people in the Travelling community Peter Casey who, from the debate the other night, right through what happened in Thurles, they find the way you have been talking, the way you have been describing the Traveller community is racist.”
Casey: “I grew up in Derry when you couldn’t get a job when you were Catholic, you were discriminated against because you were Catholic, that was one of reasons I left. It’s one of the reasons I left. I’m so conscious of the evil of discrimination, of bigotry and of racism. I, there’s not a racist bone in my body. And I really, I find it…”
Lawlor: “Maybe not intentionally but do you understand that you could have caused that offence to a group of people who do see you language and they way that you have been dealing with this issue and this campaign as racist? Do you understand that?”
Casey: “No I don’t. Because I’m not a racist…”
Lawlor: “And for Michael D Higgins talks about the lower life expectancy, and the greater mental health problems, the greater health problems, this is a community that has lost out and loses out by every indication going on this society.
Casey: “And I, that is totally, totally wrong that that is the case. But the way to cure the problem is not to sort of make them feel like they’re special and they’re different, the way is to help them feel that they’re included. That they are as Irish as I am. I got a lift to the…”
Lawlor: “And you think standing outside empty houses and calling the people ‘bonkers’ and…”
Casey: “No I didn’t…”
Lawlor: “Do you think that helps?”
Casey: “I did not call the people bonkers. I called the council…”
Lawlor: “Called the dispute bonkers.”
Casey: “I called the dispute, I said the whole thing is bonkers, it’s wrong. That there are people sleeping on the streets in Dublin, you know.”
Lawlor: “You say you’re reconsidering, do you regret running?”
Casey: “At the moment, I’m considering yes. If I had known it was going to come this way, I probably wouldn’t have run because this is not. My platform was to, you know, I’m all about rural Ireland. We have got a tragedy going on in rural Ireland, people are leaving rural Ireland and now because Dublin is so expensive, they can’t afford to go to Dublin, the only option is to go to England which that option might be ruled out if Brexit goes the wrong way. People are leaving…”
Lawlor: “And you seem genuinely distressed in front of me here but there are people who are thinking this is a cynical stunt dreamt up to keep you in the headlines and get you up in the polls over the weekend. Because one way or another, your name is going to be on that ballot paper this day week. People will have to decide themselves whether to vote for you or not.”
Casey: “Well they can’t vote for me if I’m not in the race. So..”
Lawlor: “Your name will be on the ballot paper.”
Casey: “Yeah but they won’t vote for me, if I step down, I’ll encourage them to not vote for me.”
Lawlor: “Will you ask them to endorse Joan Freeman?”
Casey: “Joan would probably be my preferred choice of the other candidates yeah.”
Lawlor: “And when will you know?”
Casey: “I’m going to talk to my family this weekend. I’m going to talk and spend time with my wife and the children. And my advisors and then, you know, at the moment I’m just, we’ll work things out over the weekend and discuss with the family and then make a decision and, you know, there’s…”
Lawlor: “However upset you are now and this must be…we have seen, you know, previous campaigns, previous candidates, people like Mary Banotti, Adi Roche, Gay Mitchell, they’ve all felt, for different reasons and in different ways and in different times, they’ve all felt exactly how horrible a presidential campaign can be for the candidate. On the other hand, are you not showing, one week to go to polling day, your name will be on the ballot paper, are you not showing that you’re a man who fundamentally doesn’t have the temperament to do the job?”
Casey: “That’s the complete opposite. I’m so passionate about making a difference. I’m passionate about…you look at what’s going on in rural Ireland. We should have gone with 4G straight off the bat. Every home in Ireland would have 20-25 megabyte. You know, and we’d have four bars on our cellphones.”
Lawlor: “Are you a wealthy man who’s chasing a dream here and you’ve come up against reality?”
Casey: “There’s nothing wrong with chasing a dream but this is, this is wrong when you’re accusing people of being something they’re not. And it’s not right that people, and you’ve got, you know, politicians jumping on and accusing me of being a racist, I mean it’s just wrong.”
Lawlor: “Well [Taoiseach] Leo Varadkar spoke about divisive remarks designed to get attention for you and your campaign. I mean you are getting the attention. Those remarks are divisive.”
Casey: “I’ve said and it’s in the Proclamation, we should cherish all the children of the nation equally. What’s racist about that? What’s racist about saying that you should treat everyone equally. That’s all I’m saying. I don’t think you should specify any group, any ethnic group at all. The taxi driver the other day was from Pakistan and I said to him ‘are there many Pakistani people in Dublin?’. He said, ‘oh yeah’, he said ‘there’s a large community’. And I said, ‘Would you like to be deemed as an ethnic group?’. He said, ‘no, of course not, we’re Irish. My children, they all speak with Dublin accents’. You know, I mean, they’re proud to be Irish, they’ve made Ireland their home and they don’t want to me, he felt it would be an insult to make them a different group because they’re Irish.”