Thursday 23 March 2017

Gallagher earned just €212 per week after tax in 2010

Michael Brennan and Cormac McQuinn

INDEPENDENT candidate Sean Gallagher promised to invest his own money in several 'Dragons' Den' businesses last year -- despite earning just over €212 per week after tax.

Yesterday, he followed the lead of other presidential candidates by publishing his P60 forms to show his pay and taxes for the past two years.

The forms show he was paid just €12,133 last year and had a tax bill of €1,919, leaving him with just €10,213 to live on.

That amounted to €851 per month or €212 per week. That is slightly more than the €188 per week paid to those out of work.

It raises questions about how he was able to pledge money for investment in new businesses in his role on RTE's 'Dragon's Den' where he was one of the judges.

But it is understood that Mr Gallagher has personal savings he can draw on. And he also has his own company -- Beach House Training and Consulting Services Ltd -- which handles fees he earns for his speaking and business training work.

The Irish Independent has learned that Mr Gallagher offered last year to deliver two-hour coaching sessions to business people at a price of €500 per person.

In an email, his personal assistant said he would help them to "catapult their business forward" and "detail the exact steps needed to achieve your goals for your business".

And she specifically emphasised his TV appearances when she said that fewer than a dozen consultation times were available.

If Mr Gallagher had managed to recruit 12 people for these coaching sessions at €500 each, it would have netted him or his company €6,000.

Mr Gallagher has said he received a fee of €5,000 per year plus expenses for appearing on 'Dragons' Den' -- which has run over three seasons.

An RTE spokeswoman confirmed last night that the 'Dragons', such as Mr Gallagher, had to fund their own investments and they were not paid for by the station.

Mr Gallagher earned around €50,000 in 2009 when he was still involved with his Smart Homes company and paid tax of €11,499 on this income. But he stepped down from Smart Homes in April last year and his income dropped to €12,133.

Mr Gallagher has previously managed before on limited income -- he and his business partner Derek Roddy took no salary for the first two years after establishing the Smart Homes company in 2002 to provide integrated telephone, internet and TV services in homes.

Motivation

He wrote in 'That'll Never Work' -- by Mercier Press -- that he "moonlighted" by writing grant forms for local football clubs to get them lottery funding or other funding for their facilities. He also gave talks on business planning and motivation.

"That kept me living and paying my mortgage back. Anything either of us had left over, we ploughed back into the business," he said.

He has already disclosed that he received €8,100 in fees last year for his role as a director of the North-South body Intertrade Ireland. He received another €11,000 in fees as a board member of FAS last year -- but donated this to charity.

Mr Gallagher's after-tax income last year of €10,213 means that he may be relying heavily on voluntary donations to fund his campaign -- which costs an average of €200,000.

Like all candidates, he will have to disclose a list of donors to the Standards in Public Office Commission after the election.

Irish Independent

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