Slugger O'Toole

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For that reason, Sean, I’m out: #aras11 injury time.

Tue 25 October 2011, 1:48pm

Sean Gallagher, the Fianna Fáil independent candidate who has been leading the latter stages of the #aras11 race must be hoping that the finishing lines comes as quickly as possible. Martin McGuinness presided over a a very public unfolding of Gallagher’s memory of collecting donations for Fianna Fáil on the final debate on Frontline last night (although no-one seems to have noticed that he had instant recall of the individual he claimed to have had no memory of seconds before). This included a dreadful gaffe in referring to an envelope.

Although Mick has also flagged this moment, it was only one of a number of instances where Gallagher was clearly at a loss to explain away various issues of the ‘money was just resting in my account’ variety (in one case, literally so). If you can’t access the video (which has been slow to appear), there is always the Journal.ie’s liveblog here. Today, Gallagher has accused Sinn Féin and unnamed others of dirty tricks in providing factual details of his past to the public.

There was even a spat with a woman in the audience who wished to ask a question (again as reported by the Journal.ie) which spilled over onto the radio this morning:

When Kenny brought up a question raised by a woman in the audience last night about allegations regarding his business practices, Gallagher interrupted and said Kenny should explain what that person’s background and allegiances are and bring her before him to make her claims.

Kenny said the woman was willing to come on air this morning, to which Gallagher said he was not interested in taking her on.

Coming on air, the woman said she was a completely normal person without a political agenda. “I’m not involved in any parties and I don’t know a single politician,” she said, before adding that she found it disconcerting that Gallagher was not willing to answer a question from a member of the public.

Those unnamed others must include the Irish Independent since it has chosen to run a story in this morning’s paper on Gallagher, who promotes himself as a champion of the youth and voluntary sector, charging €5,000 to GAA clubs to help them apply for funding from state agencies. Having led the polls for the latter stages of the campaign, Gallagher won’t have the opportunity to assess any damage until the actual count itself. It may even have shifted the balance of first and second preferences in favour of Michael D Higgins.

In many ways this election has largely been a distraction and little more (although Sinn Féin may feel it has served its purpose in securing the party’s position on the political front rank with Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil). Meanwhile, in the real world, the existential crisis engulfing the EU and eurozone has not abated. And a more likely measure of public attitudes towards the government will be read from the results of the Dublin West by-election, which also takes place on Thursday (with a possible contest in Wexford likely in the near future).

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Comments (20)

  1. keano10 (profile) says:

    He has dramatically failed to turn up for The Northern Sound Presidential Debate scheduled for lunchtime today. He is refusing to answer his phone and his campaign team are said to be in “lock-down”.

    The real question is : Why would he be doing this if he had nothing to hide…?

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  2. Soldier (profile) says:

    “Martin McGuinness presided over a a very public unfolding of Gallagher’s memory”

    No, Martin presided over a careful stitch-up, where a fake twitter account was used to announce a lie, with RTÉ primed to confront Gallagher with what they accepted, without interrogation, was a true account.

    Gallagher stumbled over his explanation because, as we now know, the charge that he went to collect a cheque after the event was simply a lie. Who, trying to remember something that didn’t happen but being told live on television that it did, wouldn’t stumble?

    RTÉ have serious questions to answer – is it really appropriate to allow the final debate of a presidential campaign be dominated by something as flaky as a political charge made in a fake twitter account?

    After the recent mess that Primetime made of an innocent man’s life, you’d think they’d learn.

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  3. articles (profile) says:

    Michael D did not excel either, a couple of times he declined to answer by citing a desire to remain aloof but when pressed buckled quite easily. Gallagher might just get over the line yet but his strongest competition, I can’t believe I’m saying this, come the death might be Norris whose skeltons are largely out of the walk in wardrobe required to house them all.

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  4. Ulick (profile) says:

    “Gallagher stumbled over his explanation because, as we now know, the charge that he went to collect a cheque after the event was simply a lie.”

    Except, no-one put that “charge” to him – he dug that particular hole all by himself.

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  5. jthree (profile) says:

    Soldier, there’s no point doing a Gallagher-astroturf here as only a miniscule number of Irish voters read this site

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  6. John Ó Néill (profile) says:

    Hugh Morgan has released a statement on this matter (online here).

    I wish to clarify and set the record straight in relation to the dealings I had with Sean Gallagher which resulted in my attendance at a Fianna Fail fundraiser in the Crown Plaza Hotel, Dundalk, on the 1st July 2008.

    Sean Gallagher , who I had never met previous to this, contacted me by phone. He first phoned me on the 6th June 2008 and invited me to attend the above fundraiser. In the course of the call he requested a donation of €5,000.00 for Fianna Fail. He advised me that this type of fundraising would replace the annual Galway Tent Fundraiser. In return for the €5,000.00 donation I was promised a private audience with the Taoiseach and I would get a photograph taken with him.

    He told me that the Taoiseach would give an up-date on the economy in the South which in his words was ‘beginning to wobble’

    On the 9th June he again phoned me to confirm my attendance . I confirmed that I would attend and was prepared to give the donation he requested. He left two mobile phone numbers for me to contact him on these numbers are 0878293028 and 0879763122.

    On the 27th June Sean Gallagher visited my business premises at Killean, County Armagh. I wrote a cheque for €5,000.00 and gave it to him personally. The cheque number is 13014. I still have the stub of the cheque , This payment is declared in my Company accounts and was cleared through my bank on the 1st July 2008.

    I then attended the fundraiser which was also attended by other businessmen from South Armagh, North Louth and across the Northeast. Sean Gallagher greeted the guests on arrival and directed us to the room at the top of the Hotel where the fundraiser was held.

    Brian Cowen gave a speech on the economy and predicted a soft landing. At the end of the night Sean Gallagher introduced me to Brian Cowen and facilitated a photograph to be taken of myself and him. Approximately one week later Sean Gallagher called back to my business and gave me the photograph.

    It is a fact that approximately fourteen years ago I was convicted of tax evasion in relation to fuel smuggling in Northern Ireland. As a consequence to that, I have repaid the Exchequer and paid a substantial fine. I was never investigated by CAB or any other agency in the Republic.

    Since that time I have developed a successful international business known as Morgan Fuels.

    I employ over eighty people in Ireland ,both North and South. I have business interests in Ireland , Britan and Europe and the Morgan Fuel card can be used up to 4,000 service stations in fourteen countries across Europe.I am also the official sponsor of the Armagh County teams of the GAA.

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  7. Nunoftheabove (profile) says:

    Let’s assume, for the moment at least, that every word of what Mr Morgan says is entirely true. It’s as clear as clear can be what the price of the ticket was/is and just how grubby and cornerboyish a used car-esque business FF was and remains. A vulgar pyramid sales scheme for access to the slightly more influential shysters and hucksters closer to the top of the tree. Perfectly legal, perhaps, but so so symptomatic of everything that has brought about the utter shambles the free state has become in terms of ethics in public life, quality of governance and all the rest of it; morally dubious, ethically unsound, greedy, opportunistic, parochial, crude, crass and elitist. Could some of these people actually be any more revolting, more ghoulish ?

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  8. Alias (profile) says:

    “On the 27th June Sean Gallagher visited my business premises at Killean, County Armagh. I wrote a cheque for €5,000.00 and gave it to him personally. I still have the stub of the cheque , This payment is declared in my Company accounts and was cleared through my bank on the 1st July 2008.”

    More lies. FF have confirmed that they received the cheque from Morgan on the 25th of June – a day before Morgan claimed he gave it to Gallagher.

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  9. Alias (profile) says:

    Typo: “…on the 26th of June…”

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  10. John Ó Néill (profile) says:

    That seems to be the nub of it. By my count Gallagher has until the moratorium at 2pm tomorrow to make a convincing case that Morgan is telling lies. Since Morgan claims he has the cheque stubs and various other artefacts from his dealings with Gallagher. Gallagher did pre-canned interviews for this afternoon but will be live on the 6 o’clock news. If he tailspins, and he looked like he was close to meltdown on Frontline and sounded like it on Pat Kenny’s radio show this morning, he will be finished.

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  11. Skeg oneill (profile) says:

    As far as I know Sean Gallagher has not caused anyone to be murdered. A €5,000 cheque donation for FF carried by him seems quite tame in comparison.

    Have FF fundraisers suddenly become criminal activities?.

    Have I missed the bleeding obvious?

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  12. Nunoftheabove (profile) says:

    Skeg oneill

    By the looks of things I think you’ve probably managed to do precisely that, yeah. Impressive, in a funny way.

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  13. Dewi (profile) says:

    Strange stuff – since when is accepting a donation for a party a crime?

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  14. Jimmy Sands (profile) says:

    I don’t think he’s in trouble for the donation. I’m not even convinced he’s in trouble for lying about it. What’s killing him is lying about it so badly and making a fool of himself.

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  15. grandimarkey (profile) says:

    @ Dewi

    As Jimmy says it’s not just the donation, or the lying about it but that he lied about it so badly. Not Presidential.

    The whole thing reeks so odiously of the whole Fianna Fail gombeen, parochial, rotten culture that so plagued the poltical system for so long and left the place in a bit of a mess…

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  16. antamadan (profile) says:

    A bigger problem for Gallagher in my book is the IRish Times story todya p.7 ‘Questions remain surrounding Gallagher’s financial affairs’. This sadly shows Gallagher and fellow Smarthomes owner talking all the profits out of the company in crazy high directors fees and crazy high rent to director’s owned buildings (200k p.a. on a building that cost 2000k) leaving accumulated profits of only€114,000 so if the drained company goes bust, the Business Expansion Scheme (BES) investors will get nothing back from their 700k investment and if it is wound up paying off all its debts, they will still lose massively, while Seán and fellow owner became millionaires. Really, really, really appalling & Vincent Browne seemed to understand that on TV3 tonight. Let’s hope some people were watching that, and not just the Dragon’s Den.

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  17. Publican (profile) says:

    Can anyone detect any backlash for McGuinness among this? There he was, gobsmacked at such impertinent lines of questioning by O’Callaghan some weeks back, and yet coming up with his own line of ambuscade the other night?

    Still scratching my head at Gallagher’s appeal, but with that course of action, did not McGuinness show himself to be, well, unPresedential?

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  18. Munsterview (profile) black spot says:

    Alias : “…More lies. FF have confirmed that they received the cheque from Morgan on the 25th of June – a day before Morgan claimed he gave it to Gallagher….”

    So glad that you were able to quote Fianna Failed on that, we all know that Fianna Failed do not lie! ( If you have many more lines like that in your stand up routine, I suggest you change your script writer, the public have stopped laughing at that material quite some time ago )

    Hope they then gave the money to Bertie for the Horses to double or triple it, as the public found out from the Mahon Tribunal if you can recall, a very lucky man on the horses was our Bertie ?

    I can however appreciate why you support Fianna Failed, given the loose cheques floating around, monies ‘resting’ in accounts and The Party bagmen/business men brass necking it out big time, you must think that Israel is just like home every time you go back ?

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  19. [...] of the revelations on RTÉ’s Frontline Presidential Debate is continuing to send disruptive ripples across the media and bloggoshpere but it remains to be seen if the outcome will prove fatal. [...]

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  20. Reader (profile) says:

    Munsterview: I can however appreciate why you support Fianna Failed, given the loose cheques floating around, monies ‘resting’ in accounts and The Party bagmen/business men brass necking it out big time, you must think that Israel is just like home every time you go back ?
    I would have thought that Fianna Fail culture is not a lot like Israel, but quite a lot like some of its neighbours. But then, some prejudices linger longer than others, I suppose.

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