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Video: Gallagher's odds of winning lengthen following Frontline controversy

The candidate’s campaign team declined to comment about the controversial confrontation involving Martin McGuinness and a €5k cheque for Fianna Fáil.

Image: Photocall Ireland and Tony Kinlan

PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE Seán Gallagher’s odds of winning the election have fallen this morning, following a controversial confrontation involving Martin McGuinness on last night’s RTÉ Frontline debate.

Betfair’s odd for a Gallagher win have fallen from 1/3 to 5/4, with Michael D Higgins back in front as the 4/5 favourite.

Seán Gallagher’s campaign team declined to comment on the controversy or the impact it may have on his campaign when contacted by TheJournal.ie this morning.

During the debate last night, Martin McGuinness claimed that he had been told that Gallagher had received a €5,000 cheque to pass on to Fianna Fáil after organising an event for the party at the Crowne Plaza hotel three years ago at which attendees were apparently expected to donate to the party.

Gallagher recalled the event and said he had driven to that man’s house to deliver a photograph of the event, but could not recollect receiving a cheque, saying that if he had then it would have been made out to Fianna Fáil headquarters and “it was delivered”.

Gallagher also said he did not “want to cast aspersions on the said character” of the person involved in the claim, before adding that the person was a convicted fuel smuggler. The candidate said he had done nothing wrong and he “stands over his track record”.

A tweet read out on air claimed that the man involved in the cheque claim would appear at a press conference today.

That tweet was sent from a fake account and not from the official Martin McGuinness presidential campaign team, as it appears to have been accepted by the Frontline programme. The McGuinness campaign said it had “no comment” to make on the “Gallagher FF donation issue”.

Asked if he had invited a convicted fuel smuggler to the event, Gallagher said he was not aware of the man’s background at the time.

The Examiner reports today that the man involved is believed to be Hugh Morgan of Louth, who was convicted of smuggling fuel in the 1990s and received a suspended sentence. Earlier this year, Morgan was reported to have rented accommodation in Louth to Gerry Adams ahead of his general election run.

Martin McGuinness is due to make a statement on the issue later this morning.

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

Watch: How the candidates fared in TheJournal.ie’s Quickfire Video Quiz>

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