\"Presidential

Presidential candidates Sean Gallagher (L) and Martin McGuinness at the Ploughing Championships Photo by: news.ie.msn.com

Gallagher rocked by new allegation of collecting money for Fianna Fail

\"Presidential

Presidential candidates Sean Gallagher (L) and Martin McGuinness at the Ploughing Championships Photo by: news.ie.msn.com

Live coverage of the Irish presidential election on IrishCentral - Friday, October 28th

In a sensational move Sinn Fein candidate Martin McGuinness has accused presidential front runner Sean Gallagher of deliberately misleading voters and hiding the fact that he had received payments on behalf of Fianna Fail, the former government party, now discredited.

McGuinness made the accusation on the final debate of the campaign when he stated a witness had come forward to reveal that he had personally given a check to Gallagher for Fianna Fail after a fundraiser.

Gallagher at first denied the specific incident that McGuinness referred to, but later stated that he may well have accepted a payment.

The immediate aftermath of the incident saw Paddy Power bookmakers remove Gallagher from as the favorite and install Labor candidate Michael D.Higgins instead. The election is on Thursday.

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The alleged incident happened in 2009 after a fundraiser for Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen in Dundalk County Louth. Gallagher has stated he attended the fundraiser but did not raise any money or collect any checks.

However, McGuinness stated that the businessman had come forward to state that he had given Gallagher a check when he called to his home.

The person he accepted the payment from is said to be  a Newry businessman who pleaded guilty to tax evasion and fuel smuggling and received  a suspended 18-month jail sentence in 1998.

Gallagher at first denied it but then admitted to audience jeers that he may have collected an envelope.

If Gallagher has been untruthful on the issue it could damage his campaign greatly as his opponents have sought repeatedly to link him to Fianna Fail fundraising without success.

Already bookmaker Paddy Power has pushed him out to even money with Labor candidate Micheal D. Higgins the new favorite at 8/11.

Earlier on Monday, McGuinness had stated that Sean Gallagher is “up to his neck in Fianna Fail”.

“There’s no doubt that some people would say Seán has been up to his neck in Fianna Fáil,” McGuinness said during a live radio/online debate on Monday hosted by Newstalk radio and Google.

During the debate McGuinness accused his opponent of having strong tied to the party.

“Sean Gallagher’s party wrecked the economy, destroyed the economy, brought about mass unemployment and immigration,” McGuinness said.

“We have a very difficult budget coming up in December. €700m of the people’s money will be paid out to unguaranteed bond holders. The choice is very very clear,” he said.

“People can decide to continue with the same old, same old or they can vote for someone who represents a break from the past and someone who looks to new beginnings and who wants to stand by the ordinary people of Ireland at this very difficult time.”

In response Gallagher said he has never been in denial about his tied to the party.

“I’ve never been in denial,” he said during the debate.

“This is not a party political election and nor should it be. We stand here as individuals.”

Live coverage of the Irish presidential election on IrishCentral - Friday, October 28th

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