Sunday 30 April 2017

How this paper played pivotal role in probing candidates

Media

IT was one of the most acrimonious election campaigns the country has seen.

And throughout the race for the Aras, the Irish Independent was at the forefront in setting the election agenda.

In a series of exclusive stories, we provided the public with important revelations which helped shape the progress of the campaign.

On October 1, we revealed how Special Olympics boss Mary Davis was paid almost €190,000 by state agencies she was appointed to by Fianna Fail ministers. Our story came after Ms Davis failed to volunteer the information despite repeated requests.

On October 5, the Irish Independent revealed how David Norris received a disability payment for 16 years while out of work as a Trinity College lecturer -- even though he was a full-time senator for the entire period.

On October 8, we revealed how the family of Dana Rosemary Scallon were split down the middle in a row over music rights and royalty payments.

The dispute would overshadow Dana's campaign and prompted her to reveal how sexual allegations had been made against a family member by another relative.

Martin McGuinness's presidential credentials were called into question by our story on October 12 in which the brother of a murdered garda said his "family's blood" was in the hands of the Sinn Fein candidate.

And October 20 brought the pivotal story of the election campaign, where the Irish Independent revealed how Sean Gallagher personally invited donors to attend a €5,000-a-head Fianna Fail corporate fundraiser for former Taoiseach Brian Cowen.

The revelation prompted Mr McGuinness to go on the attack against Mr Gallagher on RTE's 'The Frontline', bringing the admission from Mr Gallagher that he may have collected a cheque from a businessman for Fianna Fail.

Toxic

The admission was toxic for Mr Gallagher's campaign, throughout which he had done his best to distance himself from Fianna Fail.

Last night, Labour's chief whip Emmet Stagg paid tribute to the Irish Independent for unearthing information that, he said, should have been made available to the public.

He argued that the people were entitled to get answers to questions that had been raised by the media and he believed that the exercise was good for democracy.

Irish Independent

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