In case you missed this, it is likely to rank as one of the most dramatic ends to a front-running Presidential campaign in history.
Before this RTE debate on 24th October last year, Sean Gallagher, standing as an Independent candidate, was 15 points ahead of the field and a “shoe-in” to be the next Irish President. Three days later, he finished the actual election 11 points behind the winner, Michael D Higgins.
This video clip shows the complete debate episode which led to Gallagher’s political demise. The discussion centres on a visit to a businessman’s house on behalf of Fianna Fail. Fellow Presidential candidate Martin McGuinness accuses Sean Gallagher of accepting a cheque from the man.
After denials from Gallagher, there is a commercial break. Then, presenter Pat Kenny announces that a tweet has come from Sinn Fein saying that they will produce the man to say that Gallagher accepted the cheque from him.
Under pressure, Gallagher then says, at 7’38″ in this video, that he may have taken an envelope from the businessman. The word “envelope” has very strong connotations of corruption in Irish politics. At the very mention of the word by Gallagher, there are loud snorts of derision from the studio audience.
This may be the only time in history that a promising Presidential campaign was ended by just one word – “envelope”.
This is rivetting viewing:
* Paul Walter is a LibDem activist in Newbury, Berkshire and blogs at Liberal Burblings