Well, you got to admit he’s a fresh face. Not a face that’s startlingly handsome but then this presidential election was never a beauty contest, was it? No no no. But Sean Gallagher is a face that most of us haven’t seen before. Whereas Michael Higgins, Gay Mitchell, Dana – well, the phrase “a comfortable old shoe” comes to mind.
So let’s check out the front-runner’s qualities.
1. He’s a criminal. That is to say, he “breached company law”, which is another way of saying the crime was a business crime, involving a loan from his own company. Had the law proceeded with full rigour, he would have been fined around €13,000 or sent to jail for five years. Or both. Ouch. Did I mention he’s the front-runner for the Aras?
2. He was a member of Ógra Fianna Fail in the 1980s
3. He was political secretary to Fianna Fail minister for health Rory O’Hanlon.
4. He was Fianna Fail Louth TD Seamus Kirk’s director of elections.
5. He was a member of Fianna Fail’s Ravensdale cumann.
6. He was elected to the Fianna Fail National Executive.
7. He resigned from the Fianna Fail National Executive in January of this year, but not from the Fianna Fail party.
8. In his resignation letter he said he wanted “to express my continued support to you and your colleagues in this challenging period for the party”.
9. He resigned from the Fianna Fail Ravensdale cumann in March 2010.
10. During the last general election, he appeared on platforms and at launch campaigns with four Fianna Fail candidates.
11. His presidential campaign team director is Cathal Lee, a former Fianna Fail district councillor.
12. Two senior advisers from the Fianna Fail-Green government (remember them?) are working on the campaign – Donal Geoghegan, the Greens’ chief adviser when in government and Richard Moore, press adviser to Fianna Fail’s Dermot Ahern for nearly ten years.
13. His media adviser is Suzanne Collins, a former press officer with Fianna Fail.
14. Jack Murray is a former press officer for the PDs and he’s giving Gallagher voluntary help.
I haven’t mentioned his business background but it related directly to the property boom.
What brought the south of Ireland, not just to its knees, but into a pit from which it won’t emerge for maybe twenty years? Fianna Fail and the property developers, with more than a little help from the banks. And now the front-runner is a man (see above) with a Fianna Fail record as long as your leg who had business related to the property world and who, had the full rigour of the law been applied, might be in prison.
It’s nice when a state, after a terrible crisis, can make a fresh start, isn’t it?