With all the controversies that have arisen during this presidential race, one could argue that Seán Gallagher had emerged relatively unscathed. With major blows to the Norris, Scallon and McGuinness campaign’s over the last few weeks, Gallagher has managed to sail through the polls coming out hot on the heels of Gay Mitchell and Michael D. Higgins. With pledges to make jobs and enterprise primary themes if elected, he is fast becoming a major player in this presidential election.
However Gallagher has been criticized for his Fianna Fáil affiliations which he has had to defend this week. Speaking on RTE news he admitted he “abhors decisions taken by Fianna Fáil” but would not openly criticize the party saying that “condemnation” is not part of his vocabulary. He claimed that he had never kept his involvement with Fianna Fáil a secret and has always encouraged people to get involved in political parties praising the grass roots of all political parties and those dedicated to improving their communities. He condemned the way in which people in grass roots were being demonized for being a voluntary member of a political party, those who he describes as “ordinary decent people” who were not in cabinet and did not make decisions. Gallagher pointed out that he himself was one of these people, working at Fianna Fáil on a voluntary basis.
He does not feel answerable for the mismanagement of the economy stating that it is those who were at the cabinet table who are responsible. However Gallagher is hopeful for the future “We can’t change the past. 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.”
By Keelin Hughes