Liveblog: Sean Gallagher on #Twittergate at Media Future 2012
Sean Gallagher spoke at the Media Future Conference in Dublin obly minutes ago, touching exclusively on the “twittergate” scandal. Whilst the rest of the guests and onlookers will look at how the interview went, I’ll just be giving a roundup of some of the comments he made.
Originally posted on Twitter by me, I posted the wrong hashtag alongside the transcripts, so they were not very well organised. Therefore, I’ll include them in chronological order here.
3:13 – The interview kicks off an Mr. Gallagher walks onto the stage. Future Media Conference host, Jack Murray, discloses that he “volunteered on [Sean’s] campaign” and has been “a good friend”. Gallagher compares stage to Frontline studio, joking how the “lights are the same colour”.
“Maybe we should get some podiums out and do it all again”, he quips.
3:15 – When asked about the challenges he faced regarding the choice to run for office, he mentioned that “he was recently married”, amongst some other things.
When asked as to why he was running, he said that we was “inspired” and amazed by the amount that Mary McAleese had achieve whilst in office. He believed that he wanted to “put [my] experience into place”.
3:18 – Gallagher: “My background was about development. My own personal development, young people’s development… development and growth in enterprise, job creation”. When asked about the importance of work, he said that “Nobody understands the challenges of being unemployed, unless they themselves were or are unemployed”.
Moving onto the actual campaign, Gallagher said that he:
“had a background working with people all across the community and all across the country… [people felt] I had a strong hope”
3:21 – He pointed out the strides he came within the days leading up to the election. “Well, only a day before the final debate three polls confirmed that I had taken the lead. I had grown in support, and I had even doubled it, doubling from 20% to 40%”.
Before the debate, he had:
“only one thought in my mind, and that was to finish on the positive campaign; a clean, honest campaign, and finish on my authentic message that I had started”.
3:24 – When the tweet was being pressed to him on the programme, he said “I just thought, I’m being attacked by Martin McGuinness… Many things ran though my mind, and I thought, Sean, don’t get into this.”
“Many people since the debate said I should have said things to McGuinness, about money and banks [and whatnot]”.
3:26 – Asked about RTEs handling of the programme, Gallagher said that even Charlie Flanagan, the campaign director for the Gay Mitchell/Fine Gael campaign, said that there “was a stench in RTE over the tweet making it onto the Frontline debate. I [contacted him] to thank him for even saying that”.
Murray to Gallagher: “Do you think you would be President if the tweet never happened?” “I don’t know, it’s note for me to say. However, I was on 40%, and that says something.”
3:28 – Murray: “Did you ever to Hugh Morgan [no longer available]’s house to deliver a cheque?”
“No. Absolutely not. That is categorically untrue. The allegation was false.”
Gallagher stated that”
“There is an element of truth in even the best lies. I did deliver a photograph, but I didn’t collect a cheque”. [Ed: At this point Mr. Gallagher made reference to the time period to when this occurred and made some other small comments, which I didn’t fully catch, so for accuracy I will not speculate what was said until I have confirmation. If, and when, I find out the material said, I will include it.]
3:31 – Gallagher restates how he had respect for all the candidates “for standing up and wanting the best for their country”. He also made reference to Mary Davis. “I felt [Ms. Davis] was unfairly treated because she worked on a few boards”.
Asked if he was the Fianna Fáil candidate:
“No. It’s very clear that I wasn’t the Fianna Fáil candidate. I launched my campaign when Micheál Martin asked Gay Byrne to run. I wasn’t the Fianna Fáil candidate.”
3:33 – Gallagher notes how he “never had an interest” in complaining to the BAI (Broadcasting Association of Ireland). He said he went direct to RTÉ for a response. When they weren’t responding, I made a Freedom of Information request, which is a comment procedure. And that was unsatisfactory, so I approached Noel Curran [Director General of RTÉ] and he never made himself available, so at that point I went to the BAI, but it never was my original intention”.
“I was shocked by RTÉ’s arrogance”
“It’s outrageous that an unverified tweet would be placed to me live on air at a Presidential debate.”
Mr Gallagher later went on to say that “The comparison of to Fr. Reynolds and myself from RTE [showed] how [they went defensive]” and that “Pat Kenny hasn’t made contact with me since the debate. It’s a matter for Kenny and RTE now”.
3:40 – Murray: “What’s next for Sean Gallagher?”
“Well, I’m going to spend more time with my wife, who was there for me and by my side going up and down the country… [Also] I gave up my business interests for the campaign, so I’m going to go out and make a living”.
3:42 – The final question from the host was regarding what he hoped to have achieved from the campaign. He said that he hopes he has given “an example” for “those out there who have the energy and drive to give it a go to step out and do it.
The debate ends, without any questions from the floor, for afternoon coffee and music.
Ironically, I noticed on the conference website who was the media sponsor.