A native of Derry, Peter Casey was born on the 9th of October 1957 and is one of nine children. As you will know, Casey contested the presidential election earlier this year. However, what you might not know too much about yet, is the Peter Casey who existed before politics. His mother Patsy Casey was deputy headmistress at Nazareth House Primary School and his father Leo was the bursar at the local grammar school, St Columb's College. Peter attended both schools before studying business administration, politics and economics at Aston University in Birmingham.
Casey once explained that one of the greatest challenges he ever faced was the breakdown of his first marriage, Casey spoke candidly about the experience in 2013: “One of the biggest challenges I’ve had to face was the breakdown of my first marriage, to a wonderful woman, we were very young and it just didn’t work out. My father Leo died around the same time and it was a very dark period in my life. Having the support of family and close friends through tough times makes a huge difference.”
In a 2016 article Casey wrote for Fora, the businessman gave an honest, raw account of how his first marriage broke down, he explained: “In the case of my first wife, who my family adored and still do, I look back and am still amazed at how she put up with my totally selfish approach to life. I just assumed that she understood that, as a team, everything I was doing was for us and that she, as half owner of the team, understood that she would be the long-term beneficiary. The problem was that she was also a very talented professional going through her own career challenges, which I was completely oblivious to.”
Peter explained that he never really told her anything about the business, and how they had also been on the IVF program for several years and, after several miscarriages, finally had a baby boy who tragically only lived a few minutes. Casey wrote about how he dealt with this experience: “I buried myself in the business as my way of handling the challenge and also threw myself into working out more, playing more squash and swimming, drinking more (hard to believe that would be possible), anything that would help me put the loss of my son out of my mind. One day my first wife came home and said that she was leaving. That she would always love me, but she wanted someone who would put her as number one.”
Peter believed his first wife thought that, to him, making money was number one, having children was number two, making money was number three, and then somewhere, long down the list, her name eventually appeared. He admitted in the candid article that “On reflection she was right.” In his very personal and honest style, Peter explained: “We broke up and she met an amazing man who now puts her on the pedestal she deserves.”
In 1990, Casey met his second wife Helen in Sydney. Helen hails from Crumlin in Dublin. Casey and Helen married in 1990 and in 1992 moved to Atlanta, Georgia, and have happily raised five children. In 2016, Casey sold his mansion in Georgia and now lives in a house in Greencastle, County Donegal.
Peter joined Rank Xerox UK as a sales representative in 1979 and went on to win a national award for sales in his first year. He moved to Sydney, Australia in 1981, and was ranked in the top 5% of sales executives nationally. He became the youngest district manager in Rank Xerox and won Three Oceans Cup as top sales manager in Asia. In 1983, Casey joined Océ Reprographics as state manager for New South Wales. He then rejoined Rank Xerox in 1984 as a branch manager in Sydney, before making the decision to set up his first company, The Trinity Group, in 1985.
The Trinity Group, a search and IT contracting firm based in Sydney, was one of five firms awarded the NSW Government tender to supply temporary staff to the New South Wales Government, the largest contract ever awarded in staffing at the time. Casey sold this business in 1992 and moved back to Ireland for six months before setting out for Atlanta, Georgia where he founded Network Resources which later became Claddagh Resources in 1996. Claddagh Resources place high-level executives across the globe for many Fortune 500 companies including Coca-Cola, SAP, Tata Consultancy Services, Oracle, IBM, and Ernst & Young.
In 2000, the company established its European headquarters in Donegal which has recently expanded operations to a new Dublin office. Irish America Magazine named him as one of 2007's leading Irish American businessmen. The website of Claddagh Resources states: “Our Chief Executive, Peter Casey, founded Claddagh Resources with the goal of bringing together organizations and qualified employees in order to create an optimal atmosphere for great productivity.”
Now living in Donegal, Peter says his wife Helen is the person calling the shots, day to day, in the business. Throughout the election campaign, Peter alluded numerous times to the fact that his wife keeps him in check, and makes sure he is organised and “on-time”. It is quite evident that Peter has a huge amount of respect and adoration for his wife.
In a segment with the Irish Examiner in 2013, Peter talked about his experience with RTE’s Dragons’ Den. He said: “My mum, Patsy, used to record Dragon’s Den for me and we’d watch it together on my next visit to Derry. That got me into watching Shark Tank, the US version. Then, someone who knew someone suggested I’d make a good dragon, and eventually, it happened.”
In the article, Casey also detailed his thoughts on the process: "Investing on the show is very different from my normal investment process. Usually, I’d do a lot of due diligence before making a move. But on TV, it's immediate. After you’ve made a bid you’re left there thinking — did I really just do this?”
Casey explained that managing expectations of the entrepreneurs he invested in was one of the most important aspects of investing, particularly on Dragons’ Den, saying: “One of the challenges is that you must be very clear with them (Entrepreneurs) that you may have bought 40% of their company, but they have not bought 40% of you. You need to set expectations. We are there to help mentor and open up doors.”
In January 2015, Casey said he would consider running as a candidate at the next Irish general election, though he expressed uncertainty about which constituency he might choose. When pressed to name a constituency he thought he might select Donegal, where he had recently purchased a home, or somewhere in Dublin, where he intended to set up his latest business. "Realistically I'm going to be spending a lot of time in Dublin", Casey said at the time.
In January 2015, Casey gave his opinion on the Fine Gael−Labour coalition to The Irish Times. "In fairness to the current Government I think they have performed fairly well", he said, continuing to state: "Some things they have done badly but overall I'd probably give them a B." He attempted to be elected to Seanad Éireann as part of the Industrial and Commercial Panel in 2016. At his Seanad campaign launch, he said he intended to support foreign direct investment, indigenous business development, and job creation. In the count, Casey received 14 votes; 113 were required to secure a seat.
On August 20th this year, Casey announced his intention to seek a nomination for the Irish presidential election. He became the third 'dragon' from the Irish version of Dragons' Den to seek a nomination after Gavin Duffy and Seán Gallagher. Casey uploaded a promotional video entitled "Platform for President of Ireland" to YouTube. He secured the nominations of four local authorities; Kerry County Council, Clare County Council, Limerick City and County Council, and Tipperary County Council. He criticised incumbent President Michael D Higgins for "extolling the virtues" of Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez.
Casey finished second to incumbent Michael D Higgins, securing 342,727 (23.3%) votes. A day after the election, Casey indicated that he planned to join Fianna Fáil and run for one of the seats in the Donegal constituency in the next general election. Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins later stated on The Week in Politics that the Fianna Fáil ticket for the constituency was full, saying that Casey should "realise that you can’t just rock up to political parties and think that you can get your way". Casey responded by saying: "I'm 100% serious. If the consensus after talking to them is they don’t want me, I’ll form a new party and I’ll call it the new Fianna Fáil."
Casey wrote a book about the history of the Tata Group. ‘The World's Greatest Company’, as he called it, was published in 2014. He has also published articles in newspapers and other news publications. When writing for the Irish Independent, Casey advocated for voting rights for Irish emigrants.
Throughout his presidential bid, Casey spoke passionately about harnessing the under-appreciated resource which is the seventy-million members of the Irish diaspora worldwide.
He argued in the Sunday Independent that Ireland has the chance to be at the centre of an online education revolution by embracing massive open online courses (MOOCs). Writing on TheJournal.ie, Casey sounded a cautionary note on Bitcoin after the collapse of virtual currency exchange ‘Mt Gox’. In the Sunday Independent, he wrote of how credit rating agencies made Ireland's financial crisis "explode" and suggested how it might be stopped from happening again.
In the good old days, when Dunnes was the brand leader for the high street, if you were wearing a nice item and someone admired it and wondered where you got it - the response of the day was either ‘Dun-nez Store’ or ‘Ben’s Boutique’, much the same as the response to that same compliment morphed into “Penneys!” So much so, the story goes that foreign students (Spanish and Italian in particular) actually thought that this was a form of thanks for receiving a compliment in Ireland. Anyhow, suffice to say that Penneys cornered that particular market.
Dunnes Stores has re-branded in recent times, and I am just not sure how well this has worked. We see in Dunnes now, a higher quality selection of new ‘designer lines’ with significant but somewhat modified price-tags to go with it. That’s why I would hesitate to spend big money. They have very impressive designers including Paul Costello, Carolyn Donnelly (LOVE her highly patterned designs), Peter O’Brien, and Michael Mortell. But it is Joanne Hynes that I would like to mention in particular as she recently launched her Autumn/Winter collection for Dunnes Stores. Last Saturday morning I happened to hear her being interviewed by George Lee on The Business. I like how passionate she is as a designer and how emotional she is when it comes to actually designing a new line. What I was most impressed with though, was her brief, "to be herself", from Dunnes Stores. What a fantastic carte blanche to be given and a freedom that I think is reflected in her collection, which features a very varied and quirky selection of clothing. The line is not, I think, to everyone’s liking. It is colourful, geometric with big shapes, and mixes which are quite challenging. I look forward to seeing what some of you fashionistas style some of these items with!
I rambled into my local Dunnes Stores in Roscommon recently, to see what they were favouring this season. Dunnes has always been a great spot for sourcing good basics that will take a good few wears and last the season. I was greeted by a row of TREGGINGS! What are treggings, I ask you, or maybe you might ask me? Curiosity got the better of me. What could these strange trouser/legging items be? The end of leggings and trousers? No, they are actually a very useful item, made with a nice soft stretchy (beware!) fabric. They seem to only come in black but could be life-line in a gal’s wardrobe! The difference between these and the beloved ‘jeggings' is that they have a loose leg. They're more trouser width at the end, not tight like jeggings. I’m thinking that they might work well with a nice pair of loafers. Whilst I dislike intensely these word combinations, be it jeggings, treggings, or whatever, I guess they ‘do what it says on the tin'! At an even €20, treggings are definitely worth a try!
Fashion trends come and fashion trends go.... and come back again, often in 7 year cycles! So, whoever said if you haven't worn something for 6 months 'get rid of it.... 'I disagree wholeheartedly. In fact, I have been known to store an item that I probably picked up on my travels a number of years before. Eureka! I buy some other item, that actually 'goes', and hey ho, away I go, with a fabulous 'new' ensemble, happily out!
Whilst I love fashion, I am not a slave to it. I ‘tip’ my hat to the seasonal trends and certainly like to embrace some of the current trends, IF, I like them, they suit my figure, and sense of style. I tend to observe the various lengths that are trending... I think this is one of the key fashion ‘rules’ to be observed. It can take a year or two before a length goes really out of style, so you need to keep an eye on the fashion scene. Who want to appear out in last season’s length, however fashionable at that time? So, following on from last season where, apparently, EVERY length featured, we are seeing a return to midi and maxi lengths, which I really like. Some of these look not unlike dressing gowns, and are twinned with loose long dresses, often with a shiny fabric and flats - great news! However, the micro mini is still featuring and I just need to be convinced that anybody can pull this look off and look elegant.
Top of the list this season is TWEED, with Marc Jacobs, (see photo) bulking it up with an interesting mix of fabrics, tweed, married with silk, leather with ruffles and bows, all in beautiful berry shades… Some styles I love to see coming around again, but NOT culottes (’80’s) and not ‘Bay City Roller’ style plaids, and the horror of horrors - the mullet!!!
Cozy knitwear and throws are right back in there much to my joy. It is so easy to finish an outfit with a nice throw, even over a bulky sweater that you won’t fit a coat over anyhow. Quilting is making an appearance for the first time in ages, apart from the many ‘horsey’ quilted jackets, it hasn’t featured on the catwalks for some time. So far so good. However, I think I will be drawing a line at some of the flashier trends such as feathers and multiple fringes in high fluorescent colours. Maybe, if there is a fancy dress over the festive season! What is this hybrid design? Sorry, not for me! Basically, two styles with a complete contrast of fabrics are designed and merge down the middle of your body - really unattractive.
Bright colours are billowing their way into the winter, brightening our days, so if you buy a few pops of colour try and include fuchsia, apple green, mustard, poppy red or cyan (blue). Happy shopping! Until we meet again, keep smiling! Siobhan x
Wednesday the 19th of September 2018 left a fatal mark on Ireland as two people, a man and a woman, lost their lives during Storm Ali.
The loss of life was truly tragic and came very close to visiting the community of Tulsk during the storm too when a postman who has been working for a number of years in the Boyle area avoided tragedy. His post van was struck by a falling tree during the storm when on his post route. He got out of the van but was subsequently trapped on a narrow country lane for over an hour as numerous further trees fell with one more hitting his post van and others blocking his escape. The postal operative who is a well known and active member of the Tulsk community narrowly avoided death, as he dodged falling trees and falling, live, electricity cables for the best part of ninety minutes. The postman had his mobile phone with him and managed to make contact with An Post and Roscommon County Council who alerted the emergency services to his situation. ESB networks contacted the trapped postal worker and advised him on what to do in order to minimise his risk of injury. While the incident escalated gradually, the Tulsk man found himself in serious danger quite quickly, once he realised he had no route by which to escape, with live electricity cables possibly having electrified the wet boggy ground on one side, and the trees which had fallen and blocked his escape by road. The trees too had possibly been made live by falling cables, and wet and windy conditions made the entire situation even more perilous. Thankfully, ESB networks isolated the live cables and Roscommon County Council managed to remove over 25 fallen trees over a two hour period to free the man. While extremely shocked by the incident, the man is glad to have walked away without serious physical injury. It is hoped he will recover from what was no doubt an extremely traumatic incident as quickly as possible.