- 07 Nov 18
In an exclusive Hot Press Interview, the recent presidential candidate Peter Casey has revealed that he is taking legal advice in relation to quotes attributed to Leo Varadkar, which accused him of being racist.
In an outspoken and frequently controversial interview, the 61-year-old Derryman also outlines why he believes Ireland should consider leaving the EU and predicts that Michael Martin will have the dubious honour of being the only Fianna Fail leader never to become Taoiseach.
In relation to accusations that he was racist in the remarks he made about Travellers during the election campaign, he insists that he would not have a problem if any of his daughters decided to marry a Traveller.
In this in-depth interview, conducted by Hot Press’ senior editor Jason O’Toole, Peter Casey also confirms that he has been prescribed medical marijuana. He uses the Hot Press interview to put forward the argument for the legalisation of marijuana. He also believes Ireland is now ready for debate about euthanasia, emphasising that it is a choice that he would like to be able to make.
He talks about his support for the availability of abortion. And confirms that he agrees with same sex marriage and gay adoption.
Peter Casey also opens up growing up during The Troubles – including the times he was beaten up by a future notorious INLA.
“I wonder had the people who voted for Peter Casey in the Presidential election any idea of what he was really like?” Hot Press Editor Niall Stokes says. “In truth, I don’t think they had. Indeed it will be fascinating to see how the people of Donegal, for example, react to his open support for abortion legislation. To his endorsement of the campaign to legalise marijuana. To his support for same sex marriage and gay adoption. And to his clear desire to see euthanasia made available in Ireland. I think people need to read all of this in context. Because what the Hot Press interview does is give a completely fair, rounded picture of those who are interviewed. Nowhere will you get a better or more complete insight into what makes Peter Casey tick.
“A lot of people supported him in the Presidential election because he adopted what seemed to be a strong anti-traveller stance. And I have no doubt that Peter Casey did benefit from the racist, anti-traveller prejudice which exists here, especially in parts of rural Ireland. Well, he has more to say on all of that in Hot Press too – and it might surprise a lot of people."
On going to court about Leo Varadkar accusing him of being a racist, Peter Casey tells Hot Press, “I’m looking into it. I think what he said was so wrong. And that’s the trouble, people can say things. In the words of our President, ‘Words hurt. Words matter’. Words do hurt, words do matter. And Leo should listen to the words of the President. He should apologise.”
On why he feels he should be leader of Fianna Fail, Peter says:“I just think Leo is a shark and Michael’s a dolphin. Sometimes dolphins can take on sharks – but, generally speaking, they lose out on that one.”
On his idea that Ireland should leave the EU, Peter states, “I think we should do exactly as Britain does. And if that means we have to have a referendum then have a referendum. But whatever deal Britain gets, that’s the deal we want AND MUST GET!”
In relation to his comments about the Travelling Community, which sparked controversy – and in the process helped his presidential campaign – Peter claims, “They overreacted...I certainly didn’t mean it to be offensive. I don’t believe our travellers are any different to you or me. I think they’re Irish. They should be proud Irish people. I think they should sell their horses and put their children through education.”
On legalising marijuana, Peter tells us:“I don’t think it does any harm at all. It doesn’t seem to have caused any huge problems in Amsterdam. It doesn’t seem to have made Amsterdam fall apart. The Netherlands is one of the most tolerant countries. The discussion should be had, and the people should have a vote on it. I’d vote yes.”
On being prescribed medical marijuana , Peter explains, “I’ve plastic rods put in my back because I have degenerative disc disease but I can’t take opiates because they constipate me… The strongest drug that I can actually take is paracetamol. I was prescribed medical marijuana. It’s actually so much better.”
On suffering from depression after the breakup of his marriage, Peter says, “It was a very dark time. I’d say, probably for six months or so, I felt very sorry for myself. You pick yourself up and get on.”
He adds,“It was a sad time, it wasn’t a regret. You don’t regret things that the universe gives you. Yes, I should have spent more time working on and appreciating the difficulties that she was going through – losing the baby and the trauma of IVF. I was obsessed with work and I should’ve been more thoughtful. But that’s life. I was very, very selfish in those days. I’m still selfish but not quite as bad.”
On rioting in his youth, Peter reveals, “I used to go rioting after school! That was what you did in those days. If you weren’t good at football you went rioting (laughs). Throwing stones at soldiers and they’d shoot rubber bullets. If nobody got hit by it there was a mad rush to get it. We’d sell their rubber bullets.”
There is much more too, in what is a very wide-ranging, exclusive Hot Press interview, in which Peter Casey also candidly discusses his sex life, gives his views on Donald Trump, discusses #MeToo – and explains why he will be Taoiseach “one day soon”…
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