Who I Am
I was born in Co. Monaghan and grew up in Ballyhaise, Co. Cavan. My father John Gallagher was from Killygordon, Co. Donegal and my mother Ann (nee Bracken) was from Tullamore, Co. Offaly.
I am married to Trish from Kanturk in Co. Cork and have two children, Bobby aged five and Lucy aged two. We live in Delgany, outside Greystones Co. Wicklow.
I was educated at Ballyhaise National School; St. Patricks College Cavan; Teagasc Agricultural College Ballyhaise; NUI Maynooth (Professional Youth and Community Development), University of Ulster and Dundalk Institute of Technology (MBA).
I have a lifelong commitment to health and wellness and have spent more than 20 years studying and training in martial arts. I hold a black belt in judo and karate and have in the past, spent some time in the ring as an amateur boxer. Trish and I enjoy hiking however, at the moment we do mostly nature walks with our children.
I have worked hard to overcome many challenges in my life, from visual impairment and unemployment to the entrepreneurial challenge of setting up my own business.
My vision for the Presidency is shaped by the experiences and skills I have learned over a life in community, business and politics.
I’ve worked with young people across the island to help them see the impact they can make in the world:
- Through my work with Foróige, the National Youth Council of Ireland and Macra, both as a volunteer and later as a qualified youth worker.
- I wrote the government’s first National Alcohol Education Programme for Young People and worked on employment programmes with early school leavers and members of the travelling community to create fulfilling opportunities based on their talents.
I’ve worked hard in business as an entrepreneur and job creator and have used my experience to further the growth of business across the island of Ireland.
- I have mentored businesses, coached young people.
- I have passionately supported people to achieve their ambitions.
- I’ve also worked on promoting all-island businesses as a director of Intertrade Ireland which was set up under the Good Friday Agreement and just as Mary McAleese built bridges for peace, I believe that we can unite communities through building bridges in business.
Political and Public Service
I’m passionate about the power of community. Over the last 30 years, I’ve seen what can be achieved when ordinary people come together to achieve extraordinary things.
- I’ve worked in communities throughout the country to create training interventions for the long term unemployed, some of the communities forgotten as a result of our economic growth.
- I have championed the causes of youth, disabled and SMEs under various guises, in my capacity as a member of organisations such as Foróige, Macra, Ógra Fianna Fáil and FÁS.
I’m proud to have been active in both politics and public service. This has given me the experience and the understanding of the role of the President and how the President can work for all people of Ireland in our changing society.
My campaign and vision for Presidency is grounded in the values that I’ve lived all my life. Each of the special initiatives and focus areas of my campaign are shaped by my core values which I believe the President should lead through:
Only when we have respect for ourselves, respect for each other and respect for different identities can we truly work together to shape the future we want for our country.
Responsibility is about us all taking a step forward to lead in our communities and leave our country better than we found it. For me, it’s also about leading by example and representing Ireland with pride and dignity at home and abroad.
Growing up in small town in Cavan, I’ve seen the power of community. I am committed to working with all people across all communities, rural and urban, north and south to foster a new spirit of collaboration and imagination.
Trust is the foundation upon which so much is built. I have always been committed to not just doing things right but doing the right things. This is why I am running a transparent campaign and ensuring that all activity as President is open to the public and subject to proper scrutiny. After all, the office of the President belongs to the people of Ireland.
We are an island of six million people, but we are made of so many fabrics- different stories, cultures, abilities and identities. This is what defines the Ireland that I’m so passionate about and this is why I am committed to bringing people and communities of all backgrounds together, so we can respect differences and celebrate our unique identities.