Sean Gallagher fails to gain ground with disappointing result

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The poor performance of Irish presidential candidate Sean Gallagher may come as a surprise to many.

Despite winning half a million votes in the 2011 poll, he failed to gain any ground in this election and it is suggested he only secured 7% of the vote.

The businessman conceded victory to President Michael D Higgins around midday on Saturday after exit polls showed the incumbent was set for a considerable victory.

Sean Gallagher
Sean Gallagher with his wife Trish and their children as they voted in Wicklow on Friday (Aoife Moore/PA)

Mr Gallagher was touted early on in the campaign to come second to Mr Higgins, before a late surge in popularity for fellow candidate Peter Casey.

The businessman was considered a front-runner in the 2011 presidential race until an incident involving a fake tweet during a live TV debate saw his polling numbers plummet.

He later received “substantial” damages and an apology from RTE in a settlement against the state broadcaster.

Mr Gallagher confirmed he would run for a second time in August and at the time said the Irish people have an “opportunity to redefine the role of president in the context of a changing society, while cherishing all that is unique about Ireland”.

He went on to secure the backing of four county councils.

Mr Gallagher avoided controversy during the campaign and was often found defending other candidates during debates.

His message centred around his advocacy for disabled people and youth work.

However, he was criticised for refusing to take part in debates which did not include all the candidates, and he failed to make an impact with early exit polls putting him in fourth place.

The businessman is expected to lose his election deposit as candidates need to poll higher than 12.5% to get their deposit back.

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