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Tuesday 23 January 2018

Gallagher refuses to name and blame FF for woes

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

INDEPENDENT candidate Sean Gallagher last night tried to clean up the mess he made in failing to criticise Fianna Fail's record in power.

However, Mr Gallagher again continued to fail to specifically blame Fianna Fail by name for the country's woes, instead referring to "the last government".

Widely regarded as the worst moment of his campaign to date, Mr Gallagher was badly exposed on his links to Fianna Fail when he repeatedly refused to say a bad word about the party on the RTE's 'Prime Time' debate on Wednesday night.

After repeatedly failing to say if he believed his former party had let the country down, Mr Gallagher yesterday said he "abhorred" the decisions made by the last Fianna Fail governments.

In seeking to explain his hesitation, he used the excuse that he didn't want to offend the party's grassroots members across the country.

"I was asked last night on the 'Prime Time' programme if I would condemn Fianna Fail. I couldn't condemn the ordinary grassroots members of the party who were not in government who were not in Cabinet, who did not make decisions," he said.

"I did try to get the opportunity but didn't get back in to say that of course I abhor many of the decisions of the last government and the mismanagement of our economy that has taken us to where we are. And the last government was responsible.

"I have never used the word 'condemnation' in my life. It is not in my vocabulary," he added on the 'Neil Prendeville Show' on Cork's 96fm.

Mr Gallagher was asked repeatedly by RTE's Miriam O'Callaghan on 'Prime Time' if he thought Fianna Fail had let the country down. He replied that Fianna Fail was in government "with others" and he couldn't answer for the party.

"I can't answer for Fianna Fail. Of course, I'm sure there were many decisions made which, in hindsight, were wrong," he said.

Let down

By yesterday morning, Mr Gallagher was finally criticising governments led by Fianna Fail as he said the previous government "badly mismanaged" the economy.

"It overheated. We are now left with the issues of businesses struggling and unemployment. I think that there were appalling decisions made."

Afterwards, Mr Gallagher's spin doctors issued a statement saying he "abhors" many of the decisions of Fianna Fail governments.

But at no point did he actually mention Fianna Fail.

He added: "I'm not responsible for what happened in government. But I can be responsible for what I contribute to the country now. I want to move the debate on."

Irish Independent

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