How candidate has changed his story on dinner donations
SEAN Gallagher's spokesman confirms to the Irish Independent he contacted a number of his business friends to invite them to attend the dinner, but insists he did not solicit donations.
"Sean Gallagher did attend the event in question. He was not requested to donate nor did he, either before, during or after the event, make a donation in a personal capacity or a corporate donation. At no point did he actively solicit any donations."
Fianna Fail confirms to the Irish Independent the €5,000- a-head fundraiser, which was never previously publicised, was held. "Yes, we organised a dinner in Louth in 2008. We organised it to help defray the cost of the 2007 general election. All of the donations are recorded and reported in line with regulations."
Mr Gallagher plays down his role in the event saying he had been responding to a request by Fianna Fail headquarters and he had not asked any of the guests for money.
"No I didn't. I was asked if I would let local business people know that the event was on, which I did. But I collected no money."
"And of those who turned up, I have no idea whether they made a donation or not. That would be solely a matter for Fianna Fail."
Mr Gallagher again insists he "invited perhaps three or four" and denies he collected a cheque for €5,000 from a businessman who attended the event. "That is not correct," he said.
Mr Gallagher then concedes he may have collected a cheque from the donor. " If he gave me an envelope. . . If he gave me the cheque it was made out to Fianna Fail headquarters and it was delivered and that was that.
"It had nothing to do with me."
Mr Gallagher admits he did ask for donations. "What I was asked to say was there was a level of up to €5,000," he added.
Mr Gallagher also admits he invited people he didn't know. "I asked a number of businesspeople in the area did they want to attend and one of them obviously recommended Mr Morgan as somebody who might like to attend."