- 22 Nov 18
He seemed like a Presidential no-hoper until he took a swipe at Travellers - and objected to the fact that the State has granted them the status of a separate ethnic group. As a result of what were widely considered racist remarks, he was given maximum media exposure - and raced finally into second place, with more votes than the other four contenders combined. But did the people who put an 'X' opposite his name have any idea who or what they were voting for? Photography: Miguel Ruiz
The presidential election was always going to be a one-horse race. As the most popular Irish statesman in living history, President Michael D. Higgins - riding high with over 60 percent approval ratings in the opinion polls - looked homed and hosed before a vote was cast. And so it proved.
Originally polling at one or two percent, nobody expected Peter Casey to achieve any higher than second last - if he was lucky. But the surprise story of the election turned out to be how the Derry native ultimately shot into double digits.
In an otherwise dull election, this 'Dragons' Den candidate' - the third to enter the election - suddenly became the main talking point when he took a sideswipe at the travelling community. The question was asked: did Ireland now have its very own answer to the execrable Donald Trump?
A lot of people were up in arms. The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, accused the man of being racist and urged the public not to vote for him. Rather than extinguish his campaign, the controversy seemed to help ignite it.
The surge in support for Casey didn't really surprise Hot Press. Days before the election, on online forums you could see a growing trend of people talking about voting for him. But nobody forecast that the 61-year-old would end up with 23.3% - more than the combined votes of Seán Gallagher, Liaidh Ní Riada, Joan Freeman and Gavin Duffy.
Despite his new-found profile, very little is known about the Derry businessman, who made his fortune in Australia and the US. This Hot Press Interview should hopefully go a long way towards finishing the jigsaw...
Jason O'Toole: You certainly came out swinging in this election. Did you get into many scraps as a kid?
Peter Casey: I tended to get into a lot of fights. There was a guy called Patsy OÕHara who lived down the street. He was a leading player in the INLA and the commanding officer of the INLA in Long Kesh (Prison). He died on hunger strike. He and I did not get on at all. We used to fight at least once a week. It toughened me up. But he always won (laughs) - except for one occasion I managed to get the better of him.
Did you rub shoulders with any other alumni we might've heard of?
Myself and Paddy Johnston were great friends. Paddy went on to be the President of Queens University. He tragically passed away about 18 months ago. Paddy and I were in the same class as Archbishop Martin's brother, John Martin. The other person in that class was Declan McGuinness, Martin's brother. Patsy O'Hara was in my class at the Christian Brothers. He did not go to St Columbs College as he did not pass the 11 plus. Talk about an eclectic bunch of schoolmates. My father gave John Hume his first job in the bookshop in St Columb's College. That's one of the reasons he got me invited over to the White House.
Did you have any family members affected by the Troubles?
No. I had friends who died at an early age. I was on the Bloody Sunday march. One of my classmates became a member of the IRA and died. He'd been blow-up when a bomb went off. You get toughened by it.
Did you ever have any dicey experiences?
I actually shot myself one time! My grandfather had a two/two rifle. I picked it up and didn't realise that it was loaded and it went off and I fractured my shoulder. And I was knocked down twice by cars. Running across the road, I was run over.
What were your hobbies?
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.
Did you have a hatred for the Brits?
Oh, no. No. Of course not. Hate is not a word that is in my vocabulary. As a family, my children aren't allowed to use the word in any context.
Did you ever think about joining the IRA?
Ah, no. A couple of my close friends were arrested and given six months for riotous behaviour and that really was a wake-up call for me.
Do you think the IRA where justified in their actions?
No. I don't think you can, in any way, justify killing a mother of ten people. I don't think you can, in any way, justify the atrocities that were carried out. I'm anti-violence. I mean, I used to go down and throw stones - but that wasn't any violence: we called it 'The Matinee'.
How important was chasing girls when growing up?
I wasn't very successful (laughs). My first date and relationship was when I went to university. I was too busy playing ping pong and handball - and rioting! Girls didn't become a thing until I was 19. I plucked up the courage to ask this girl out and I took her for a burger and I told her I loved her (laughs). I wouldn't recommend that. I said, "I really think we'll be married one day!" She said, "Shut up!" (Laughs). But she kept seeing me.
I presume your first time was with her.
She was a very religious Catholic - or so she said. She said, "We'll have no sex until we're married". I said fine, thinking I could probably convince her. Then towards the end of the second year, it turns out while she was keeping her promise to not have sex with me - she was having sex with almost everybody else (laughs)!
You laugh about it now.
It wasn't funny at the time. I said to her, "How do you think I feel? Everybody knows you're having sex. And everyone knows I've never had sex". She said, "You'd worry less what other people think about you if you realised how seldom they do!" Talk about a knife in the back!
How old were you when you lost your virginity?
It was into the twenties (laughs). It was my early twenties - I don't want to be specific so that somebody might work out who she was (laughs)!
Was it all you hoped it would be?
Oh God, no! It was probably the worst ten seconds of my life!
Because it was the worst ten seconds of her life too probably (laughs).
Did you ever question your sexuality?
Have you ever been with a prostitute?
Fortunately, I've never had to use the services of a prostitute (laughs). I don't know have any strong views either way on it. I would like to think that we can get a society where people don't have to sell their body for money. But I wouldn't put people in jail for it.
Have you ever tried marijuana?
I never tried it. At university, I actually never took spirits either, just beer. I still don't drink spirits much. A bottle of whiskey would last me a year. I do like good wine. I've plastic rods put in my back because I have degenerative disk disease but I can't take opiates because they constipate me. I get nausea with them. They have a really bad effect. The strongest drug that I can actually take is paracetamol. I was prescribed medical marijuana. It's actually so much better. Well, I just can't take the other hard drugs. I'm totally opposed to the illegal hard drugs. And I can't take the legal ones (laughs).
Do you think marijuana should be legalised?
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.
How did you vote on the Eighth Amendment?
I am in favour of a woman's right to choose. I had to struggle with that one because I'm not necessarily sure men should've had a say in it because they're never going to need an abortion.
Renua leader John Leahy said you'd be welcome to join their party because he thought you held similar views to their anti-abortion position. Would you be tempted by Renua?
No. I have a deep respect for Lucinda. It took an awful lot of courage for her to do what she did. But I think Ireland today is, unfortunately, locked into Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. If you want to have an impact, you have to align with one of those parties. The one I would be most aligned with would be Fianna Fáil. I'd be more left of centre philosophically. I came from a very large family and we had very poor beginnings.
How did you vote in the marriage equality referendum?
I'm totally in favour of marriage equality. It's appropriate that we recognise that loving couples can be male or female. I'm surprised it took us so long to get there.
Would you have any objections to gay couples adopting?
Absolutely none whatsoever. The same rules should apply for any adoption - they have to have stability: emotional stability, financial stability, so that the adopted child will go into a stable home.
If somebody offered you a deal that you could be Taoiseach tomorrow on the condition you gave up sex - would you take the deal?
(Roars laughing) My wife wouldn't let me take it. She controls most of what goes on.
Do you honestly see yourself one day as being Taoiseach?
One day soon. Absolutely. I mean, people told me I was mad when I said I wanted to run for the Seanad - and they were right about that. And then they said, "Oh, you're crazy running for the presidency".
Did your family think so too?
My family were more concerned about me standing more for health reasons than anything else because I hadn't been well. I'd been in intensive care for eight days, eight weeks ago (from an E.coli infection - JOT). And they didn't want me to stand. My wife, of course, was supportive, but my brothers and sisters didn't want me to stand. They said, "You're crazy. Do it next time". I said, "Nay. Next time I'll be 68" (laughs).
But will you run again for the presidency again?
It's very hard to run for the president when you're the Taoiseach! Maybe one day.
Did you honestly think you could beat Michael D.?
At one stage, genuinely, I thought there was a chance. If he had polled around 45 percent and Sinn Féin had done the normal 15/16 percent, I think that I would've done very well out of the transfers. I know I'm the world's biggest optimist, (laughs), but I really thought there was a chance.
Are you going to focus all your energy and time now on politics?
Yeah. I will stand in Donegal and I will definitely win a seat. If Fianna Fáil don't want me (laughs) that's not going to keep me awake at night. I will stand under the banner of the New Fianna Fáil. They need to change - unless they want to go the same way as the PDs and the same way as the Labour Party. I believe it is totally possible for Fianna Fáil to restore themselves. They paid a very stiff price. Were they alone to blame for the financial meltdown and financial crisis? There was more than one dancer on the dance floor. Yeah, they were largely to blame. But they've served their punishment. They should be restored to the party that they once were.
Would you consider any other political party?
Just Fianna Fáil. It will be Fianna Fáil - but it will be a Fianna Fáil that is acceptable. If they decide in their wisdom that they don't want me, I'll start a 'New Fianna Fáil', a new party. But it will be basically the same as Fianna Fáil. I'm definitely standing in Donegal and I'm going to win such a large majority - and then I'll think you'll find they'll invite me to join (laughs). The only condition that I'm going to place on it is that I have to be the leader!
That might be difficult.
No - he's going to get fired. The question is: do they fire him before or after the election? They're going to lose by a massive amount if they don't fire him before. I'll only join on condition that I get the leadership role. I'm more qualified to be Taoiseach than he is. I'd be a much better vote-getter than he would.
You'd be willing to cough up a lot of money to start a new political party?
Yes. There's a lot of people that are disenchanted - their heart and soul is Fianna Fáil, but they're very disappointed with the way it drifted into the wilderness. I don't think you need to start a new party - I essentially agree with a lot of the platforms that would be Fianna Fáil platforms.
But it sounds like Fianna Fail don't want you.
(Laughs) Yeah, a couple at the top don't - that's for sure. I want them out!
Fianna Fáil has already selected their two candidates for the Donegal constituency. I doubt they'd want a third candidate on the ticket there. There'll be a new leader in the party before the election comes along. They're obviously wouldn't be a third seat. I'll get elected. Charlie McConalogue will get elected as he's a good hard-working man. Joe McHugh will get elected. Pearse Doherty will get elected. Pat The Cope might get elected - it'll be a toss up between him or Thomas Pringle. One of those two will lose their seat. Thomas is a nice guy. There you go: if you want to go and take a bet tomorrow, there's your five that will get elected. Pat's a nice guy, but he's 70 and he's got lots of pensions to rely on, so he'll be fine. I think the days of being elected depending on the number of funerals you attend is gone. We're past that now. I won't be attending funerals just to get elected.
You honestly think Micheál Martin will be gone soon?
Oh, yeah. Micheál will be the first leader of Fianna Fáil not to become Taoiseach. He should've taken the two-year/two-year deal that was offered by Enda Kenny. This supply and confidence notion - all it does is supply Fine Gael with confidence (laughs).
You said Micheál Martin is too nice to take on Leo.
Do you mean too weak? I think Micheál Martin is a very good and decent person. 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.
What do you think of gender quotas in the Dáil?
I think it's wrong to have gender quotas because there are so many opportunities for strong, talented women. There's so many talented women there that are getting in, which is a great thing. I don't know if you necessarily have to impose quotas. You just have to encourage them to jump in.
What do you think of Donald Trump?
I try not to. I think he's an international embarrassment. As a father of three daughters, I find his whole attitude towards women totally offensive.
The 'rape culture' - with #MeToo and Time's Up - has been one of the big issues of the past two years. What's your view of that?
Look, I've got three daughters. I condemn all forms of abuse, or inequality. It's wrong. It has to be stopped. A lot of women now have the courage to come forward, which is great. There's not much more to say about it. There's no right way to do the wrong thing. I think Ireland is so advanced now that we're in a position where people that are being maligned or abused are comfortable to come forward.
The famous young Irish actor Robert Sheehan recently told me he'd work with Woody Allen. If you were in the movie business would you finance one of his films?
One of the problems sometimes is that people just make these accusations. The Taoiseach of our country, who knows that there isn't a racist bone in my body, made these libellous, slanderous accusations about me and called me a racist. I think it was the first time in presidential history of a campaign where a Taoiseach actually got involved personally in the campaign to campaign against the candidate. To campaign specifically against the candidate that he knew was not a racist.
What do you mean he 'knows'?
He knows that I've got a really special relationship with India and I'm so passionate about India. And he libelled me. And I can do nothing about it. And he won't apologise. And he's still out there saying slanderous things about me. I think Leo Varadkar is a thunderous disgrace because he hasn't got the courage to even stand up and say, 'Ok, I was wrong about Peter Casey. He's not a racist'.
Are you considering legal action?
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. He's abusing his position. He should not have got involved in trying to affect the Presidential race. That is wrong. It's not unconstitutional, but it breaks the spirit of the constitution - where the office of the President and the office of the Taoiseach are supposed to be independent functioning bodies that operate independently.
It's easy to deny being a racist.
If I was a racist, I would not have a special relationship with the Indian community. If I was a racist I wouldn't have lived with a coloured guy for three years in Birmingham. If I was a racist I wouldn't have my daughters and their black/coloured friends home, and staying overnight in our home. If I was racist I wouldn't be writing books about what an amazing country India is. And he knows all this. I've sent him a copy of the book.
Are you planning to go to court?
Absolutely. I need to find out legally if I've got legs to stand on first. I'm taking advice on whether there's grounds for libel.
Who advised you that the traveller button was the one to push in the Presidential election?
That was a total and absolute accident. And if I could undo it I would. That is not what IÕm about. What inspired me was the Chuck Feeneys of this world - the people that can really make a difference.
Do you accept that what you said about travellers was offensive, or do you think they overreacted?
They overreacted. I was making an observation that there were six beautiful houses empty. The night before, myself and my wife had walked around St. Stephens Green and there was over a dozen people sleeping in doorways as we walked around. I blew a fuse. This is so wrong. It wouldn't have mattered to me if the people from the halting community across the road, if they'd been from Poland or anywhere. I was just saying the concept of it was so wrong.
But travellers found it offensive.
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. My mother Patsy taught travellers at Nazareth House and she treated every child equally. Well, no - she was harder on me as I was in her class!
Why are you so insistent that travellers aren't a separate ethnic group? All the experts say they are, but yet you disagree...
The experts have their heads up their ass. The bottom line is: they're Irish. They are as Irish as you are and as Irish as I am. They should be proud of that.
So you genuinely don't believe there are any differences?
They are not different. The people that came here from Africa, that came here from Indian or Pakistan, China - they're different ethnic groups and they do not want to be labelled different. It would offend them. They have made Ireland their home. That's why it's so ridiculous to call me a racist because I don't see them as a different race. They're the same as you and me. They're as Irish as my children are.
But Irish travellers are recognised under Irish law as an ethnic minority.
That's an example, by the way, of how pathetic governments pass pathetic laws. Strong governments don't pass pathetic laws. That was a law that pandering to special interest minority groups. I have experienced discrimination growing up in Derry as a Catholic. I've experienced the ugly side of racism in America and in Australia with the disgraceful way the aboriginal population was treated. I've experienced it in America with the disgraceful way that the African American population is treated. I'm totally opposed to discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexuality, colour - anything. I think by pandering to a race that's trying to have a title, as it were, that doesn't exist - you're encouraging something that will continue a cycle that hurts the community that you are actually trying to help.
So, what's your solution?
You have to break the cycle and the only way to do it is through education. We need to come up with a way where the travelling community educate their children and ensure that their children stay in education. And that's the solution. A possible solution is to make nice accommodation available for them in the Phoenix Park for a five-year period, and have a school they have to go to, and they have to finish school. You have to read and write. And if you're leaving school at an average age of 12, there's no way that you can get ahead in life. I'm sorry, but somebody has to point that out.
Do you know any travellers personally?
Of course not. I mean, how would I? I went down and tried to meet them and they wouldn't meet me. Honest to God, I'd really like to move off the travellers because I've got much more interesting things to talk to you about. As has been pointed out, you're talking about 0.6 of a percent of the population.
Was there a big traveller community in Derry when you were growing up?
When I left Ireland there was only one travelling community in Derry. And there was absolutely no problem whatsoever with the travellers. The reason for that was the Provisional IRA - they controlled the justice system in Derry. And there was very little misbehaviour from anybody when the Provisional IRA was running Derry with an iron fist. But there was negative sentiment towards the travellers in Derry when I was growing up.
If one your children came home and said, 'Dad, I fell in love with a traveller and I want to get married' - would you have any objections to that?
Of course not! I will have absolutely no say in who my children fall in love with and they marry. I will give my children the love and support Ð and if they fall in love with a traveller and they're happy and the traveller they fall in love with, whether it be a man or a woman, treats them with love and respect then I'd have absolutely no problem whatsoever. I've told all my daughters that there is one golden rule in a relationship with a man and that is the minute the man - a boyfriend or a husband - if ever he physically strikes you, get out of the relationship immediately. Don't give a second chance.
You've been married twice yourself.
I've only ever had two long-term relationships. One was with my first wife and then my second wife. A divorce is tragic when it happens. It's obviously very sad. I was in a relationship for about 15 years and we were married for about seven of them. How old was I when I got divorced? 34. It was in Australia. We had no children. We'd been on the IVF programme for many years and we, unfortunately, lost a baby. We were just emotionally tired and worn out. I'd just lost my father. It was a very, very dark period in my life. She said one day, 'All you want to do is make money and have children - and I can't help you with either. I want somebody who loves me for myself'.
Are you still on speaking terms?
We're still great friends. She's very happily remarried to a great person. They used to go over and stay with my mom. And my mom would go over and stay with them. She's an amazing woman. And her husband's an amazing man. So, we get on really well.
Is it one of your big regrets in life?
No. 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.
How old was the baby?
The baby only lived for a couple of minutes.
I'm sure you must've suffered with depression afterwards?
Yeah, I did. 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.
Did you go to therapy to help deal with it?
No. There was one called wine, which was very good.
So, did the marriage break up within a year of that tragedy?
I can't remember the exact timing of it all, but, yeah, it was probably about a year. I'd just sold the business and we decided to settle up. I was just sad. It was a very sad period in my life. The only thing that made it a little bit easier, or simpler, was that she met someone fairly quickly. I met someone; it didn't take too long. She was a very attractive lady and she met somebody. And then I met Helen.
How many children do you have?
Five wonderful children. God has a strange sense of humour. You spend all your time on focusing on trying to have children and can't have them. I met Helen and virtually every time I looked at her she got pregnant.
Where did you meet Helen?
In Australia. My two boys were born in Sydney. Then three Georgia peaches: my three daughters were all born in Atlanta, Georgia. They've got strong Southern drawls.
Do you think Ireland should remain neutral?
That's a myth. Ireland is not neutral. We are militarily non-aligned. It's a load of nonsense when people talk about neutrality. Who's going to invade us? There's three military superpowers in the world. There is America/NATO. Then there's China and there's Russia. And that's it. We should pay our two percent into NATO. Greece pays it, we should pay it.
What are your thoughts on Brexit?
28.1 percent of our exports go to America. About 11.8 percent of our exports go to the UK. So, those two together make up just about 40 percent of our total exports. If you take the UK out of the European Union, less than 33 percent of our total exports go to the EU. So, we need to wake up to that reality. The second reality is we need to wake up to is that there will never, ever again be a border between North and South. It's totally disingenuous of Leo Varadkar to try and pretend and frighten people into thinking that, 'Oh, we're going to come up with a solution so we can avoid a hard boarder'. Absolute bull. There will never be a hard border. There's as much chance of a hard border as there is Trump building his stupid wall.
What makes you so confident?
They couldn't enforce the border when there were 50,000 British troops, the SAS, the RUC, the B-Specials, the Irish army and the Garda Síochána. They couldn't enforce a border then. They should stop the nonsense of talking about it.
How do you see them solving it?
There's no way that they can physically get what they want in terms of a border between now and in six months' time when they're supposed to be out of there (the EU). So, they'll kick the can down the road. They'll pass some sort of legislation to give it another two to three years. And then they'll probably kick the can down the road again because they're frightened that if Britain did go and have another referendum, they're not convinced that Britain would vote to leave - they may or they may stay in (laughs).
So why not hold a second referendum?
I did politics and philosophy at university. Philosophically, I'd be opposed to another referendum because the people spoke. The people made their feelings felt. They didn't vote on economics. It was more to restore a little bit of British pride. People were aware of the fact of the nonsense of (the Brussels gravy train) - every three months they (EU MEPs and bureaucrats) moved to different five-star hotels in different cities. It's just ludicrous.
What's the solution for Ireland?
The answer to Brexit is that we have to do exactly what Britain does. Britain is one of the largest economies in the world and they are very, very powerful economy. We have demonstrated that we can't negotiate with the EU. We paid 100 cent on the euro on the bondholders. Only an absolute idiot would do that. But we can negotiate with Great Britain because we've got so many Irish people living in Britain. There's about 670,000 people, who were born in Ireland, living in the UK. What we should do is just negotiate whatever deal Britain gets Ireland gets exactly the same deal - and that would eliminate the need for any border whatsoever. It's incredibly simple.
But we don't know yet what the deal is going to be!
It will be a good deal.
Do you think we should have a referendum to leave the EU?
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!
Would you like to see Ireland leave the EU?
I would like to see Ireland get the same deal that Britain gets because it will be a lot better than the deal we currently have.
You're effectively saying, 'If that meant leaving the EU - so be it!'
If it meant leaving the EU, so be it. But we really must get exactly the same deal that Britain gets, because it will be heck of a lot better than the deal we currently have.
But do you not believe it's more beneficial to be inside the EU rather than leaving it?
Really irrelevant as long as we get the same deal the UK gets! Why should we leave? The EU is a far bigger market. You're wrong. It's not a bigger market. Our biggest trading partner is the United States by far. I think about 28.4 per cent of our exports go to America. And then it's about 11.7 percent goes to the UK. So, if you had the US and UK together there's around about 40 percent.
Are you going to try to convince us that US multinationals don't care about being in the EU - that they are based in Ireland because they love the weather? Isn't that just like Boris Johnson & co saying that the German car manufacturers would tell the EU to do a deal that suits them because they sell a lot of cars in the UK...
No. Absolutely no. You've lost the plot here, Jason. No. They want to have access to the EU. Britain has got a massive, massive trade deficit with Germany. It's the biggest trade deficit of any country in the EU. I think it's about 16 percent is the imbalance of trade between the UK and Germany. In 2017, it was about €58 billion was the imbalance. There is no way that Germany will do anything that will say goodbye to that huge trade imbalance. We need to negotiate exactly the same deal that Britain gets with the EU. Whatever the deal is, that's the deal.
Do you not agree that underlying the Brits' decision to leave was and is a form of xenophobia, or racism? They want to 'take control back' - which is code for keeping foreigners out?
No, there was an element of that and the terrorist attacks did not help. They were tired of being bossed around by Germany.
Do you want to keep the foreigners out of here too?
I absolutely support a multicultural Ireland as long as everyone is prepared to contribute and comes here legally. We have been the recipients of so much generosity over the years that I think it's appropriate that we return the gratitude that we were given. But people shouldn't come here to try and change us, they should accept the wonderful culture that we have.
What do you think of Arlene Foster?
I think she hasn't served her party well. It's a disgrace the way she has allowed the situation to develop in Northern Ireland. The MLAs should not get paid when they're not in government. They'd get back to work a lot quicker if they were not getting paid. I think there's also serious questions she has to answer about the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme.
I heard you're planning to erect a tricolour outside your home in Donegal.
The water outside the house is claimed by the British Crown! I've put out my lobster pot (there). When I get my lobsters they're actually British lobsters (laughs). We've put up a big 60-foot flagpole. We haven't put the flag yet because it only got put up last Thursday. But it's a 60-foot flagpole with a big 8ft by 4ft Irish tricolour. We're going to reclaim that from the British for Ireland (laughs)!
What are your thoughts on euthanasia?
Oh, there's some people I'd like to encourage to use it very quickly (laughs)! On a serious note, it's a very personal decision. I think it should be available if you know the end is coming, and it's matter of months, and you want to die with dignity. I watched my father going through a very long and painful period. And towards the end, I was saying, 'Please take him, God'. It's certainly a discussion that we need to have. My personal choice would be that I would want to be given the choice to decide whether I can end it a little bit earlier than go through unnecessary pain and suffering. I've probably lost any chance of getting elected now!