Independent candidate Sean Gallagher has come out fighting to save his Aras bid on the final day of campaigning in the Irish presidential election.
Gallagher took to the streets for his final canvass push adamant that he is not running for FiannaFail and refuting all claims that he belongs to the ‘Galway Tent set’.
The Cavan born entrepreneur has been at the eye of a media storm ever since Sinn Fein’s Martin
McGuinness accused him of acting as a Fianna Fail bagman three years ago.
Controversial businessman Hugh Morgan, a convicted fuel smuggler, has confirmed
McGuinness’s story that he made a near $8,000 donation to Fianna Fail via Gallagher at a 2008 fund raising dinner in Dundalk.
The revelation has rocked support for Dragon’s Den star Gallagher and hit his vote transfer potential hard.
But Gallagher has entered the final day on the hustings determined to clear his name and persuade voters that he is no Fianna Fail clone.
“Sinn Féin and Mr Morgan have had so many versions of this fabricated story that it only serves to further compound the lie,” claimed Gallagher again on Wednesday.
“I was shell-shocked, that this was thrown in to a televised debate, and that he was saying that I delivered a photograph and collected a cheque.”
Gallagher had enjoyed a 15 point lead over nearest challenger Michael D Higgins in the opinion polls before Monday night’s TV bombshell.
Observers now believe his position has been severely weakened and the balance of power has shifted back to the veteran Labor Party candidate.
Higgins has said that voters should look to a candidate’s reputation before making up their mind in Thursday’s election.
“The president should satisfy every concern about trust and everything about transparency,” said Higgins.
Independent candidate Mary Davis said: “Mr Gallagher’s answers to the questions raised had not clarified anything. Instead, even more questions now arise.”
In a separate development, Gallagher has also side-stepped all questions about his business dealings in the recent past, particularly in relation to a 2009 loan from his company Beach House Training and Consulting Ltd.
“All questions should be directed to my press office,” said Gallagher.