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Presidential candidate Peter Casey admits rioting in Derry as a youth

Peter Casey. Picture by Niall Carson/PA Wire.
Seamus McKinney

PRESIDENTIAL candidate Peter Casey has told how he used to take part in riots against British soldiers in Derry in his youth.

In a wide-ranging interview with Dublin music publication, Hotpress, the Derry businessman said he used to join riots following school.

From Derry’s Bishop Street on the edge of the city’s Bogside, the businessman is a former pupil of St Columb’s college.

Mr Casey shocked the Irish political establishment when he came second to President Michael D Higgins in last month’s presidential election.

Opinion polls had predicted low support for the businessman after he was criticised for claiming members of the travelling community camped free on other people’s land and failed to pay their share of taxes. However, his comments appeared to find support throughout Ireland and he won 23 per cent of the vote.

In one of his most candid interviews to date, the businessman called on Ireland to consider leaving the EU and expressed support for abortion, euthanasia, gay-marriage and gay adoption.

He also revealed he was considering legal action against taoiseach Leo Varadkar over comments he made during the presidential election campaign.

Recalling his youth in Derry, Mr Casey said “rioting” was what people his age did during the Troubles.

“If you weren’t good at football you went rioting. Throwing stones at soldiers and they’d shoot rubber bullets. If nobody got hit by it, there was a made rush to get it. We’d sell their rubber bullets,” the businessman said.

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