| 0.3°C Dublin

RTE set an anti-Gallagher agenda, claims Dana guest

A SECOND audience member at the infamous Frontline presidential debate has accused RTE of having an "agenda" against Sean Gallagher.

Donegal man Brian Flanagan has today told how he and his wife Bernadette were "furious" after travelling 200 miles from Donegal only to be left as "mere wallflowers".

He said the programme was being run in a "chaotic manner" and that production staff were at times "running around all flustered".

Speaking to the Herald today, Mr Flanagan said he believed there was a "distinct" agenda against the ex-Dragon's Den star.


"He was the favourite going into that show but that show demolished him. RTE staff shouldn't have that power at all to do that," he said.

"There was a big agenda there, all the staff were aware that there was something going on that night," he added.

However, he said it was "crystal clear" that people who were scheduled to ask questions were being "pre-positioned".

"They knew exactly what they were doing. I got the distinct impression that the people in the middle section, that was the young people, were asking very involved questions which is not what you'd expect from young people on a show like that, intricate questions about bookkeeping. There was an agenda against Sean Gallagher but I didn't realise how significant it was at the time."

He added: "We were furious being dragged down there to be mere wallflowers. They wouldn't take any questions from us at all, we were very angry."

The Donegal man, who is a declared Dana supporter, said he received no contact with programme staff before and after the infamous show aired four days before the public went to the polls.

He said he was "very unhappy" that he was not allowed ask a question, however RTE stated clearly on the night that while there were 35 supporters of individual candidates in the audience, they were not allowed to ask questions.

This is in contrast to the experiences of Dubliner Glenna Lynch and Monaghan man Pat McGuirk who received a number of correspondence with Frontline staff. Both were scheduled to ask questions as they were considered floating voters.

Mr McGuirk subsequently claimed at the weekend that RTE wanted him to "gun down" the independent candidate. RTE has rejected this claim.

RTE said: "Each of the seven candidates was invited to bring five supporters who were not pre-selected to ask questions."