I have declared that I would vote for Sean Gallagher as the new president …if I was allowed to vote. But in the last debate of all presidential candidates, Sean Gallagher stumbled the first time.
Because I wasn’t able to see the whole debate, I am not exactly sure how it all happened, but seemingly Martin McGuinness declared that someone rang him and told him that Sean Gallagher collected a cheque for Fianna Fail from the caller a few years ago.
Interesting in the context of Gallagher’s repeated attempts to distance himself from any FF involvement, but not scandalous in itself. If he collected a cheque for a party he was involved and did deliver the cheque to the party, I don’t see where the scandal is. Sure it doesn’t really tally with Gallagher’s preference to be seen as unattached to Fianna Fail, but that is still no disaster.
He was an active Fianna Fail member and it would have been better to accept and admit that and then to tell people that there is no danger from an ex-Fianna Fail member as president because the president has zero political power anyway. But for some reason people in Ireland are EXTREMELY sensitive to Fianna Fail membership.
Much less so than they are to Sinn Fein or even IRA membership!
I never thought much of Fianna Fail (always found it funny that they had “fail” in the name!) and I never liked Bertie Ahern even during the times when he was admired like a god by many. But on the other hand, I don’t think either that because one party has been involved in a lot of bad things and has contributed significantly to damaging the country, that then all members are automatically bad apples.
So I still have no problem with a former Fianna Fail member as a president of Ireland, but I wish Sean Gallagher had handled the conflict better. The worst sentence was probably when he declared that he had “no recollection of receiving a cheque”. This is the wording that was used by all the corrupt or dodgy former Fianna Fail figureheads. BAD choice!
I don’t think collecting a cheque on behalf of your party is a terrible thing, but I would imagine that Sean Gallagher’s support in the presidential race experienced a severe drop in that moment.
On a side note: Interesting that the politician with the darkest and dodgiest past, Martin McGuinness, was the one that threw the dirt at Gallagher!