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Sean Gallagher’s lack of credibility was his undoing —Martin McGuinness

11 March, 2012


Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness this evening said: "There is no doubt that RTÉ should not have broadcast a tweet during the Frontline presidential debate which incorrectly claimed that Hugh Morgan would appear at a press conference the following day.
“None of this however takes way from the fact that Seán Gallagher had legitimate questions to answer. The facts are that Seán Gallagher did solicit money on behalf of Fianna Fáil and was deeply involved in the culture of money buying access to politicians. It was Seán Gallagher’s lack of clarity and credibility in relation to straight questions on these issues from myself in the course of the Frontline debate which was his undoing."

Mr. McGuinness said:
"There is no doubt that RTÉ should not have broadcast a tweet during the Frontline presidential debate which incorrectly claimed that Hugh Morgan would appear at a press conference the following day. The tweet had nothing to do with the Martin McGuinness presidential campaign and RTÉ could have checked this with any of a number of representatives of my campaign team who were present in RTÉ on the night. They didn’t do this.
“It is also clear that RTÉ was negligent in failing to broadcast a corrective tweet from the official campaign twitter account which made it clear that the Martin McGuinness campaign had made no statement on the night in relation to the Seán Gallagher and Fianna Fáil donations issue.

"None of this however takes way from the fact that Seán Gallagher had legitimate questions to answer in relation to the issue of his involvement in Fianna Fáil and fundraising for that party, questions which he had refused to fully answer in the presidential election campaign up to that point.

"It was Seán Gallagher’s lack of clarity and credibility in relation to straight questions on these issues from myself in the course of the Frontline debate which was his undoing. The facts are that Seán Gallagher did solicit money on behalf of Fianna Fáil and that in particular he was involved in soliciting money for the fundraising event at the Crowne Plaza in Dundalk. Sean Gallagher was, as I correctly pointed out, deeply involved in the culture of money buying access to politicians — a culture which the electorate had rejected at the previous general election.

"I had a duty to the electorate to put these questions to Seán Gallagher during the Frontline debate which I did. I am proud to have run in the presidential election and of the part I played in it. The electorate made up their own minds about who they wanted for president and I fully respect their democratic decision. I think all candidates and commentators should now do the same."
ENDS

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