Hugh Morgan press release:
I wish to clarify and set the record straight in relation to the dealings I had with Sean Gallagher which resulted in my attendance at a Fianna Fail fundraiser in the Crown Plaza Hotel, Dundalk, on the 1st July 2008.
Sean Gallagher , who I had never met previous to this, contacted me by phone. He first phoned me on the 6th June 2008 and invited me to attend the above fundraiser. In the course of the call he requested a donation of €5,000.00 for Fianna Fail. He advised me that this type of fundraising would replace the annual Galway Tent Fundraiser. In return for the €5,000.00 donation I was promised a private audience with the Taoiseach and I would get a photograph taken with him.
He told me that the Taoiseach would give an up-date on the economy in the South which in his words was ‘beginning to wobble’
On the 9th June he again phoned me to confirm my attendance . I confirmed that I would attend and was prepared to give the donation he requested. He left two mobile phone numbers for me to contact him on these numbers are 0878293028 and 0879763122.
On the 27th June Sean Gallagher visited my business premises at Killean, County Armagh. I wrote a cheque for €5,000.00 and gave it to him personally. The cheque number is 13014. I still have the stub of the cheque , This payment is declared in my Company accounts and was cleared through my bank on the 1st July 2008.
I then attended the fundraiser which was also attended by other businessmen from South Armagh, North Louth and across the Northeast. Sean Gallagher greeted the guests on arrival and directed us to the room at the top of the Hotel where the fundraiser was held.
Brian Cowen gave a speech on the economy and predicted a soft landing. At the end of the night Sean Gallagher introduced me to Brian Cowen and facilitated a photograph to be taken of myself and him. Approximately one week later Sean Gallagher called back to my business and gave me the photograph.
It is a fact that approximately fourteen years ago I was convicted of tax evasion in relation to fuel smuggling in Northern Ireland. As a consequence to that, I have repaid the Exchequer and paid a substantial fine. I was never investigated by CAB or any other agency in the Republic.
Since that time I have developed a successful international business known as Morgan Fuels.
I employ over eighty people in Ireland ,both North and South. I have business interests in Ireland , Britain and Europe and the Morgan Fuel card can be used up to 4,000 service stations in fourteen countries across Europe.I am also the official sponsor of the Armagh County teams of the GAA.
Sean Gallagher interview with Rachael English on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland on
20/10/2011: Gallagher: I was asked by Fianna Fail Headquarters of which I was a party member at the time in 2008 which is no secret if I would mention it to local business people which I did. English: So you rang people up and invited them? Gallagher: No, people that I met, I explained that there was this event coming up. I have to make it very clear, I sought no money, I received no money from anybody, that was dealt with by Headquarters Fianna Fail Headquarters. I also want to make it very clear that while I attended the event I was not asked for money, I made no contribution myself in either a personal capacity or as a corporate donation either before the event, during the event, or after the event. English: How many people did you invite? Gallagher: I think I mentioned to possibly three or four people, and I have no idea to this day whether or not they made a donation whatsoever. English: Does this not though invite further scepticism about your links with Fianna Fail? Gallagher: Well I think that has been well trashed out and it’s an ongoing issue that keeps coming up. I mean I have made it clear numerous times that I was involved in Fianna Fail in 2007, 2008 and for a short period in 2009.