Sean Gallagher is an experienced entrepreneur, an inspiring speaker & a highly regarded business writer. He also stood, as an Independent Candidate, and was runner up, in the 2011 Irish Presidential Election. His life story is a testament to his commitment to the principles of self-belief, determination and a positive mental attitude. The breath of his knowledge today is derived from the diversity of the sectors he has been involved in over the years; including business, politics, professional youth work, agriculture, disability and Sport.
Sean Gallagher is widely recognised as a champion of business and job creation. As an entrepreneur, he is best known as co-founder and CEO of leading commercial property firm,Â Clyde Real Estate, which provides office and production facilities forCorporate and Multinational firms seeking to establish or expand operations in Ireland as a gateway location to Europe.
Sean is also co founder and director of app development company, The App Factory and a Non-Executive Director of Pharmaceutical Engineering Services firm, Team Horizon. Previously, he was co founder andÂ CEO, of Irelandâ€™s largest home technology company, Smarthomes and has beenÂ an investor on the popular TV programme, Dragonâ€™s Den (Shark Tank in the US) and a finalist in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in 2006.
Sean qualified with an MBA from the University of Ulster and previously worked with one of Irelandâ€™s Enterprise Agencies and has, over the past 20 years, trained and mentored hundreds of emerging entrepreneurs. He has also served on a number of Irish State Boards including the National Training and Employment Agency (FAS), the North South Trade Body (InterTrade Ireland) and was Chair of the State owned Drogheda Port Company.
He is also a popular business writer with the Sunday independent, Irelandâ€™s largest selling newspaper with a readership of almost 1m people. Each week, he profiles leading Irish entrepreneurs whose stories and lessons, he hopes, will help inspire the next generation of business leaders.
Independent Candidate in the Irish Presidential Election 2011
Driven by the desire to put his energy and skills to work for the Irish people, Sean ran as an Independent candidate in the 2011 Irish Presidential election. With his wife, Trish, at his side, he traveled to every part of Ireland.
His message was not about traditional politics; it was about jobs, about people and about community. It was a message too, that resonated deeply with the public.
Sean choose to stand as an Independent candidate. For that reason, he did not have a political party behind him. Instead, he built his own national organisation from scratch, consisting of more than two and a half thousand people. Most of those who joined his campaign were volunteers who worked tirelessly on his behalf over the following months. Together with a small team of highly committed staff, Sean empowered them to take on the might of the political establishment. He will be forever grateful and inspired by their loyalty and hard work over, what was, a long and arduous campaign
Unlike other candidates, Sean chose not to use traditional election posters. Nor the customary tour bus. Instead, he ran a community based campaign supported by an equally innovative social media strategy.
From a rank outsider initially, his meteoric rise led him to top the opinion polls at 40% just 3 days out from voting day. While ultimately coming second among a field of 7 candidates, he is credited with having run one of the most dynamic and effective election campaigns in Irish Political history.
In line with his commitment to promoting education, training and employment, Sean was appointed by the Irish Government to a number of State Boards (for which he either declined payment or where any board fees received were donated to charity). These included;
Intertrade Ireland. This North / South trade body has responsibility for promoting economic co-operation on the island of Ireland. In addition to being a Board Director, Sean was also Chair of the Boardâ€™s Equity Network Initiative which has helped promote Venture Capital and Business Angel Investment in Early Stage Businesses across Ireland.
FASÂ . This was the National Training & Employment Agency which had, at the time, an annual budget of â‚¬1 billion.
Drogheda Port Company. Sean served as Chairman of the Board of this successful commercial state port company.
Youth Development and Education
Sean has long been committed to the development and well-being of young people. His first involvement in youth work was as chair of his local Foroige youth club when still in his teens. He later qualified, from Maynooth University, as one of Ireland’s first professionally trained youth workers. He has worked with young travellers, young offenders and young people with disabilities. He wrote Irelandâ€™s first National Alcohol Education Programme; a life-skills based programme which has been widely used by youth leaders and teachers throughout the country in their efforts to reduce the misuse of alcohol among young people.
Sean’s time as a professional youth worker, together with the periods of unemployment he, himself, experienced, led him to the belief that both education and employment are the cornerstones to eliminating individual deprivation and social exclusion. Since then, much of his life has been dedicated to these two areas.
Sean was born with congenital cataracts. However, he has always been determined not to allow his limitations to define him. With a desire to help and encourage others, he has been active in a number of support organisations.
In particular, he has been honoured to serve as Patron of the Irish Association of Supported Employment (IASE), an organisation which helps create awareness of the positive contribution people with disabilities can make in the workplace and who strive to provide meaningful work experience and full or part time employment opportunities.
Sport, Health and Wellness
Sean is a strong believer in the benefits of health and wellness. He is a qualified Fitness Instructor (NCEFI) and has achieved Black Belts in two different martial arts; Judo and Karate.
At the age of 47, Sean won RTE’s â€śCharity Lords of the Ringâ€ť reality boxing TV show, helping to raise much needed funds for the National Council of the Blind.
A long term believer in meditation and retreats, Sean recently became a convert to the power of Yoga.