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Fianna Fáil says Morgan cheque was lodged before fundraising event

Seán Gallagher says he does not recall receiving the cheque for Fianna Fáil as claimed by rival candidate Martin McGuinness.

All seven candidates at the Frontline debate last night.
All seven candidates at the Frontline debate last night.
Image: Photocall Ireland

Updated at 14:30

FIANNA FÁIL says that the cheque allegedly given to Seán Gallagher by a party supporter after a fundraising event in Louth in 2008 was lodged to the party’s account the day before the event.

In a statement this afternoon, Gallagher says the dates involved show that he could not have received a cheque while delivering a photograph of the event to the man who made that donation.

The issue was raised during the last of the presidential debates, during which Martin McGuinness claimed that he had been told Gallagher received a €5,000 cheque to give to Fianna Fáil after organising an event for the party.

In correspondence with TheJournal.ie today, Fianna Fáil said that it received a €5,000 cheque from Morgan Fuels Ireland Ltd, of which Hugh Morgan is the managing director, dated 26 June 2008. It was lodged to the party’s account on 30 June.

A party fundraising event attended by Morgan, who has a conviction for fuel smuggling, was held on 1 July 2008 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dundalk.

Speaking on national radio this morning, Gallagher said he remembered the event and that he had invited Morgan to it after being made aware of his sponsorship of the Armagh team.

However, he repeated his comments from last night that he did not recall receiving a cheque from Morgan as a donation to Fianna Fáil, but that he may have done so if he went to Morgan’s house to deliver a photograph from the fundraiser.

During the debate, Gallagher said that if he received any cheque for Fianna Fáil as alleged by McGuinness, it was passed on to the party headquarters.

Hugh Morgan could not be reached this morning for comment.

In his statement this afternoon, Gallagher accused Martin McGuinness and Sinn Féin of attempting a “political assassination” over the claims and earlier described the Frontline controversy as an ambush and hatchet job against him.

Sinn Féin has dismissed Gallagher’s comments as “nonsense”.

Gallagher has cancelled campaign events scheduled for Kilkenny and Waterford today, which his campaign team says is due to a delay while recording an interview with Today FM. They said he has other media commitments in Dublin this evening which he will attend.

Read: Seán Gallagher accuses Martin McGuinness of “political assassination” >

Read: The Frontline #Áras11 debate as it happened >

In full: TheJournal.ie’s coverage of the Race for the Áras>

POLL: Who do you think came out on top in last night’s debate? >

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