Gavin Duffy

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Gavin Duffy
Gavin Duffy.jpg
Liam Duffy[1]

(1960-04-29) 29 April 1960 (age 60)
Kildare, Ireland
  • Entrepreneur
  • Businessman
Known forMain dragon on the Irish version of Dragons' Den
Political partyIndependent
Orlaith Carmody (m. 1993)

Gavin Duffy (born Liam Duffy; 29 April 1960) is an Irish entrepreneur and businessman who was a former part owner of the HRM Group of Companies, one of Ireland's largest recruitment companies.[2] Duffy is a regular conference speaker at business events in Ireland.[3] He was an unsuccessful candidate in the 2018 presidential election.[4][5]

Early life[edit]

Duffy was the youngest of three brothers and lived as a child in Sallins, County Kildare, where his father, Ned Duffy, had a pig farm. His mother, Anne Duffy, ran The Gem restaurant in Naas. He attended the local primary school, St. Laurence's, in Sallins. The family sold the farm after the outbreaks of swine fever in the early 1970s and moved to Drogheda, County Louth, where they bought a pub. He lived 'above the shop' on West Street, while attending St. Joseph's Secondary School. He later went to Newbridge College in County Kildare where he did his Leaving Certificate.[6]


He set up Boyneside Radio in Drogheda when he left school, changing his birth name of Liam to a "cooler" Gavin.[5] In 1989, he led the consortium in the country's first licensed provincial local radio station, LMFM, which was sold to UTV in 2004 for about €10 million, a sum which Duffy claims holds the Irish and UK record for the highest multiple achieved for a broadcast or publishing asset.[7] He founded his media and management consultancy Gavin Duffy and Associates (formerly Media Training) in 1992 with his wife and business partner Orlaith Carmody.[8] Subsequently, he worked in RTÉ, where he presented the television business programme Marketplace, contributed to Morning Ireland, and presented Holiday Ireland.

Duffy has been a dragon on all eight series of Dragons' Den, produced by RTÉ.[9]

In 2016, Duffy was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Chamber of Commerce in Drogheda, County Louth.[10][11] In 2017, he was the moderator of the Fine Gael leadership election debates around the country, which ultimately saw Leo Varadkar become party leader and Taoiseach.[12] He has previously worked as an advisor to both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael and has coached a number of Taoisigh.[2]

He is the Chairperson of Bizworld Ireland, a non-profit organisation which teaches entrepreneurship to primary school children.[13] He is a patron of Suzanne House[14] and the Drogheda Classical Music Series.[15] He is past Chairman of the Hunting Association of Ireland[16] and has organised events in support of hunting and against protests by animal rights activists.[17]

2018 presidential campaign[edit]

Duffy was a candidate in the 2018 presidential election. He received the first of four required nominations from Meath County Council on 3 September,[18] followed on 10 September by nominations from Carlow and Wicklow county councils.[19] He secured his nomination with the support of Waterford City and County Council on 14 September.[4]

During the course of the election campaign, media reported on an incident in 1978 when, aged 18, Duffy was involved in a vehicular collision in which he caused serious injury to a motorcyclist. He was convicted of careless driving. He expressed regret at the incident.[20] In an interview on RTÉ Radio 1, Duffy also expressed regret over a ban received for dangerous driving when he was 33, for driving his Porsche at almost twice the 40 mph limit towards the brow of a hill. He did not address a ban received at age 21 for driving without tax or insurance.[21] Duffy received 2.2% in the election, finishing last out of the six candidates.[22]

Personal life[edit]

Over the last 20 years he has lived in Bellewstown, County Meath, with his wife Orlaith Carmody and four children.


  1. ^ Edwards, Elaine. "Gavin Duffy expresses regret over involvement in crash that injured young woman 40 years ago". The Irish Times. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ "Gavin Duffy – Personally Speaking Bureau". Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  4. ^ a b Brophy, Daragh (14 September 2018). "Businessman Gavin Duffy becomes fourth official candidate in presidential race". Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  5. ^ a b Burns, John (16 September 2018). "Duffy knows the name of the game". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  6. ^ "About Gavin Duffy". Retrieved 28 September 2018
  7. ^ "About Gavin Duffy – Entrepreneur, Media Coach, Dragons' Den Presenter, Public Speaker". Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  8. ^ " – About Us".
  9. ^ Gavin Duffy. "Column: Gavin Duffy – Why I cried on Dragon's Den".
  10. ^ "Chamber stars shine". Irish Independent.
  11. ^ "Gavin gets his lifetime honour". Mid Louth Independent.
  12. ^ Finn, Christina. "Dragon's Den star to moderate Leo and Simon in Fine Gael hustings".
  13. ^ O’Brien, Jennifer (26 June 2017). "BizWorld initiative in schools with Dragons' Den Gavin Duffy". The Times.
  14. ^ "Gavin Duffy becomes patron of Suzanne House". Suzanne House.
  15. ^ "We're lucky we have so much music here". Drogheda Independent.
  16. ^ "Ruthless poachers kill deer to order". Drogheda Independent.
  17. ^ "ICABS welcomes IFA president's shunning of pro-hunt event". Irish Council Against Blood Sports.
  18. ^ "Duffy secures Meath Council presidential nomination". RTÉ News. 3 September 2018. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  19. ^ "Freeman and Gallagher both secure nominations for Áras bids". RTÉ News. 10 September 2018. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  20. ^ "Gavin Duffy expresses regret over involvement in crash that injured young woman 40 years ago". The Irish Times. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  21. ^ McDermott, Stephen (9 October 2018). "'My boy racer years are over': Áras hopeful Gavin Duffy expresses regret over historic driving convictions". Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  22. ^ "2018 results". Presidential Election returning officer. 27 October 2018. Archived from the original on 1 November 2018. Retrieved 28 October 2018.