Friday 24 November 2017

Michael McDowell: Gallagher could have gone from RTE to the Park

It can be difficult to be tough without appearing rude, says Michael McDowell

WHEN it emerged in a recent Standards in Public Office (Sipo) report that Sinn Fein had spent thousands of euro on fuel supplied by Morgan Fuels as part of Martin McGuinness's unsuccessful presidential election bid, some commentators immediately noticed that it was the owner of this business who was at the heart of the famous 'Cheque-gate' saga that derailed the presidential campaign of Sean Gallagher.

We already knew that the same gentleman had provided Gerry Adams with an election office in the last general election. All of this served to revive memories of the famous TV debate in which Mr Gallagher imploded on air at the hands of Pat Kenny and Mr McGuinness.

It was, of course, a piece of riveting television. The 'bogus' tweet, the 'envelope', and an almost Billy Bunter-like explanation by Mr Gallagher ("I didn't eat the cream bun in your locker with the cherry on top and anyway it was sour"), and the subsequent, cringe-making radio confrontation with the lady in the audience who just happened to throw in the hard question -- all of these elements combined to destroy the frontrunner's chances in a very strange seven-horse presidential race.

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