Presidential candidate Sean Gallagher has played down his role as a staunch, loyal and highly active member of Fianna Fáil.
He claimed that his membership of Fianna Fáil was ‘sporadic’. It was anything but. In fact, to all intents and purposes he may still be a Fianna Fail member. He claims he left Fianna Fáil in 2009 but in this video clip he is seen addressing an Ogra FF summer school in August 2010.
Right up to January 2011 when the party was in freefall and, despite wave after wave of crisis within the Government and the party, this man stood loyally on the decks of the Fianna Fáil Titanic right up to January 5 last, even as FF Minister after Minister resigned or announced they were retiring on massive pensions.
His resignation letter to FF General Secretary Sean Dorgan was not a resignation as a member of Fianna Fáil, but merely as a constituency delegate to the National Executive.
In fact, it has served his purposes to remain a member in order to gain the support of his many Fianna Fail colleagues and friends on county councils across the country to ensure he secured a nomination.
H e claims that the President should be ‘above politics’ yet he does not mind not being above Fianna Fáil politics. This is what he said about some of the decisions that Brian Cowen made: “I guess what Brian Cowen was doing and his Cabinet were doing was based on what was in front of them, they were making the best decisions they felt at the time…….”
Interestingly, neither he, nor his campaign team nor Fianna Fail headquarters can confirm when he officially left the party. This might suggest that he has never actually left.
When asked to explain his strong FF associations, associations he has continually played down, he rebuffs them by saying that ‘people are tired of negative campaigning’. Yet, the electorate are entitled to know the truth about his political associations and his staunch support for a party and Government that brought the country to its knees.
It was also telling that, when asked in the Late Late Show Presidential debate to name any piece of significant legislation introduced over the last seven years, he could think of none.
How could it be possible that a Presidential candidate could fail to notice the massive impact that the bank guarantee, the bank bailouts and NAMA have had on ordinary citizens, communities and businesses the length and breadth of the country? It just does not wash.
And, without wishing to totally castigate FF, he could have easily cited the excellent anti-smoking legislation introduced by current FF leader and former Minister for Health, Michael Martin, in 2004. But he could not think of any.
This man needs to come clean and step up to the plate.