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Presidential election candidate Sean Gallagher has come out fighting – and accused Sinn Fein of ‘ambush’ and ‘a hatchet job’ after they exposed his links to a convicted criminal’s donation to Fianna Fail.

Reacting to the drop in support for his candidature after Monday night’s latest revelations on live TV about his Fianna Fail connections, Gallagher has turned his sights on Martin McGuinness.

It was McGuinness who outlined how Gallagher helped deliver a near $8,000 check from convicted fuel smuggler Hugh Morgan to the Fianna Fail organisation at a time of a 2008  fundraiser in Dundalk attended by the then party leader and Irish PM Brian Cowen.

Support for Gallagher has fallen since he admitted to involvement in the fund raising dinner and Morgan’s donation but the independent candidate hit back with an attack on McGuinness on Tuesday, after pledging not to comment on any other candidate’s campaign.



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Speaking on Irish radio, Gallagher was scathing in his criticism of Sinn Fein’s tactics in the TV debate.

He went so far as to claim he had been singled out by the Republican party after calling on McGuinness to come forward with any information relating to the IRA murder of policeman Jerry McCabe in Limerick in the 1990s.

“My view will not be diverted by tactics such as political assassination by Martin McGuinness or anyone else in Sinn Fein,” said Gallagher.

“It was an ambush, they are well used to that. It is obvious to me that Mr Morgan ( Hugh Morgan, the businessman) loaded the gun and Mr McGuinness pulled the trigger.

“I stumbled last night because I was unsure but that was because I've told my workers that I don't want a lie told from my side in this campaign. I wasn't sure. It's very feasible that if I delivered the photo to his premises that he gave me an envelope.”

“I was aware of this potential problem from last week when a journalist approached me but when he found out that the businessman was a criminal, the newspaper decided not to run the story.

“I was a member of Fianna Fail and I am not ashamed of that. That was a legal fund-raising event I was at, not like some of the Sinn Fein events.

“I accept that my memory of what happened is hazy but I have no intention of allowing Martin McGuinness or Sinn Fein take me out.

“Mr McGuinness has condemned me on this issue of whether I had been given a cheque from this businessman but failed to condemn a number of atrocities carried out by the IRA including the murder of Det Garda Jerry McCabe.”

Meanwhile, McGuinness has now accepted that the check in question was handed to Fianna Fail by Gallagher four days before the event in Dundalk.

“What is very, very clear is that Sean is part of the Fianna Fail Galway tent culture,” said McGuinness.

“The man I spoke to also told me during the course of the conversation that one explanation that was given for the meeting of 30-odd people, a Fianna Fail fundraiser, a meeting with the Taoiseach, which I consider to be totally inappropriate given these are builders and developers at a time whenever the country was going through a major crisis.

“This man made it clear he was told that Fianna Fail had decided that the Galway tent operation had to fold up and this was going to be the alternative for fundraising.”

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