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General discussion / Re: The Race for the ARAS.....
« on: October 20, 2011, 12:33:37 PM »

Gadaffi reported captured

12.22pm: Reuters is quoting NTC official Abdel Majid as saying Gaddafi has been wounded in both legs.

Insert obvious Martin McGuinness joke here...

General discussion / Re: The Race for the ARAS.....
« on: October 20, 2011, 12:12:53 PM »
It appears to be a poisoned chalice being ahead in the polls!!

By Gemma O'Doherty

Thursday October 20 2011

A 22-year-old shopowner who was left bitterly disappointed by Sean Gallagher's €500 bill for business advice says he feels "pretty sick" when he hears the presidential candidates' promises to young people.  Kealan O'Connor, from Navan, Co Meath, said that the presidential favourite promised him two hours of mentoring at €250 an hour -- but he said the meeting lasted just 90 minutes and he was still charged €500.  He said his session in February with the businessman and TV star, which promised to bring his "business to the next level", was "useless" and he felt deeply let down.  Mr Gallagher has become the bookies' frontrunner in the election race after pledging to help young people get off the dole queues and set up businesses.  His father, Eugene O'Connor, booked the mentoring session for February so they could get some guidance on how to get Kealan's budding confectionery company off the ground.  They also hoped he might give them some tips on a number of other ideas they had, including a plan to install domestic wine cellars.  The O'Connors were initially surprised when Mr Gallagher requested full payment in advance of the two-hour session and cashed their cheque immediately, almost two weeks before they met.  "At the very least, I expected a receipt in the post a few days after sending the cheque, but it did not come for a month and even then I had to request it," Mr O'Connor senior said.  The session had been booked to take place in Dundalk, but Mr Gallagher requested that it be changed to Dublin.  They arrived at 2.30pm, half an hour before their session was due to begin at 3pm because they were paying him "more than €4 a minute".  "I spotted Sean in the lobby at 2.40pm and introduced myself. I told him we would wait for him in reception. Then, 3pm came and went, and at 20 past, I decided to go and find out what was going on," said Mr O'Connor senior.  "The receptionist pointed me to a nearby room and I saw Mr Gallagher and his PA sitting there and having a good laugh at our expense. I didn't feel like laughing at all.  "We felt it was so unprofessional. It was almost 3.30pm by the time we started. That was €125 up in smoke. There was no apology. But we decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and were sure he would make up for it at the other end.  "As the session progressed, it was as if he was winging it. At one stage, Mr Gallagher said, 'sweets are bad for teeth'. I couldn't believe my ears. I replied, 'and cars kill people'.  "Then he asked us if we had looked into grants from the Enterprise Board. That's not what we came to the meeting to hear. You can get that sort of information on Google.  "I wanted my son to leave with his chest pumping with motivation but the whole thing was totally uninspirational. It was the sort of mundane spiel you'd get in a public house or on the sidelines of a football pitch."  At 4.45pm, Mr Gallagher's PA came in and said he had a train to catch. Ten minutes later, he ended the session.  "We were stunned," Mr O'Connor senior said.  "We ended up getting an hour-and-a-half of his time for €500. We sat in the car afterwards, looked at each other and thought, 'what a waste of time and money!'"  In the promotional material for his mentoring sessions, Mr Gallagher promises to give clients "specific strategies and feedback that will catapult their business forward".  He says he will provide a "roadmap for growing revenues, gaining traction in the marketplace and achieving goals."  The O'Connors waited seven weeks for some follow-up material to arrive but it did not.  "The whole thing was an incredible let-down," said Mr O'Connor senior, adding that the "whole experience was a major disappointment from start to finish".  In response to the O'Connors' complaints, Mr Gallagher accepted last night that a fee of €500 was charged to them for their mentoring session, and that no follow-up feedback or a report on the session was provided to them.  In a statement, he said he was unaware of the O'Connors' dissatisfaction and would like to meet them to discuss their concerns -- but he refused to comment on the allegation that the session only lasted 90 minutes.  He said the O'Connors had come to him with three business ideas, none of which had "a business plan". Mr Gallagher said that he appraised the ideas and "advised the clients that he always cautioned against multiple plans and suggested they should concentrate on one project". He said he assessed each concept and advised on whether or how they could be taken to market.  Yesterday, Kealan was contacted by a member of Mr Gallagher's team, who asked to speak to him but he declined.  "It's a bit late at this stage," said Kealan.  "When we saw Mr Gallagher on 'Dragons' Den', we thought he might be able to help us but I knew within 10 minutes of our mentoring session, that he just wasn't interested.  "When I hear him making so many promises to young people on the campaign trail, I feel pretty sick. He certainly didn't help me. It felt like he just didn't care."

General discussion / Re: The Race for the ARAS.....
« on: October 20, 2011, 12:06:11 PM »
It's hilarious watching the SFers here trying to justify the blatant abuse of the partition (that they don't recognise) by SF TDs to evade the laws in the Republic.

What's even more hilarious is the anti-SF lads struggling valiantly but vainly, in trying to work out how they can criticise SF over this subject. It is simply a way for the party to ensure it's reps are not money motivated careerists. Maybe if certain other parties had ways to ensure they weren't attracting money seekers and careerists, there would have been fewer Bertie Aherns or Michael Lowrys floating about.
Are you stating categorically that SF are avoiding the laws of the Irish State by donating money to the party in the North? If this is the case then in my view it is no different than someone evading their tax liability...fraud in other words. I would have expected better.
No. They are breaking no law what-so-ever. If they were, an ever-enthusiastic Dublin media would have told you allllll about it many years ago.
Nally, you did not answer the question I asked: are you stating that SF are avoiding the laws of the Irish State? Do you know this to be fact or are you speculating? If yes I stand by my comments.

Your argument makes no sense what-so-ever! Firstly, how can a fraud be committed where no law has been broken? And secondly, about your "Do you know this to be fact or are you speculating? If yes I stand by my comments" remark, does that mean that SF is to be seen as guilty of fraud if I don't know the details of how they organise pay structures?!
Let me explain SF TD's earn money in the South. The law states that they can only donate a certain amount to the Party. They avoid breaking this law by donating the money in the North, hence opening them selves to accusations of hypocracy at the vey least. To my mind this is the same as evading your tax liabilities, you can put any spin you like on it but it is a stroke and SF are quite good at pointing out the strokes that other Political parties pull. So can you state categorically that this is the case, ie that they are avoiding the law by using the border or are you just speculating...simple question really.

I think most people, organisations, and political parties try to avoid breaking the law where possible ???

General discussion / Re: The Race for the ARAS.....
« on: October 20, 2011, 10:43:27 AM »
Does The Irish Times have something against Sean Gallagher?

The would-be president shows many sides to the public but his real identity has been hard to pin down


Sean Gallagher was born in July 1962 and is the youngest of the seven candidates in the presidential election.  He was born in Co Monaghan, brought up in Co Cavan and now lives in Blackrock, Co Louth.  He has had a varied career.  He has worked as a farmer, a social worker, a community worker, a full-time constituency organiser for former Fianna Fáil TD Rory O’Hanlon, and deputy chief executive of the Louth County Enterprise Board.  However, it is as a businessman with Smarthomes, and his role as an entrepreneur on RTÉ’s Dragons’ Den, that he has come to prominence more recently.  Last year, he married Trish O’Connor (37), a cosmetic company representative, from Kanturk, Co Cork.  It was his second marriage.  He married Irene McCausland in 1997.  They had met when he was working for the Louth Country Enterprise Board.  The marriage ended in divorce and annulment in 1999.  In an interview last year he referred to the marriage split-up: “While it was a tough time, letting go of it it was the right decision . . . I am really happy that she is now happily married.  I have nothing but good wishes for her.  I am definitely a better person and partner as a result.  I learnt honesty, compromise, and telling the truth faster.”  Gallagher was also a fitness instructor and massage therapist in the early 1990s.  One of his earliest companies planned to establish a chain of massage centres.  He was born with congenital cataracts and was blind until he received corrective surgery aged three.  He still has a significant visual impairment and has said he cannot pick out faces in an audience he is addressing.


There remains a great deal of uncertainty and ambiguity about the extent of Gallagher’s links with Fianna Fáil and when, and to what extent, he severed them.  He became involved with Ógra Fianna Fáil during the 1980s in Cavan and was appointed as political secretary by Monaghan TD Rory O’Hanlon when he was minister for health.  Gallagher was then not involved with Fianna Fáil for a period of 14 years after O’Hanlon’s ministerial career ended in 1992.  He returned to the fray in 2006 in Louth for the general election of the following year at the request of Louth TD Séamus Kirk, whose seat was said to be in danger from Sinn Féin.  Gallagher was his director of elections.  Kirk’s press releases were very republican, almost to a sabre-rattling degree.  The strategy was a success.  Kirk topped the poll, a feat that local activists have privately said did not endear Gallagher to the other Fianna Fáil TD and then minister, Dermot Ahern.  Sources close to Gallagher were quoted earlier this summer as saying he had never joined a cumann.  But his spokesman said last week he was a member of the Ravensdale cumann of the party.  He canvassed cumainn in Louth to become a constituency delegate to the national executive and was elected in 2009.  However, he attended only two meetings and said he became disconnected.  “That was not where my interests lay,” he told RTÉ’s News at One in July.  In a series of interviews Gallagher said he had had no active involvement with the party since 2009.  But officially, he remained on the national executive until January 5th this year, when he formally resigned in writing.  He did not refer to leaving the party, only to leaving the executive, in the letter to general secretary Seán Dorgan.  He stated in the letter that in recent times it had proved increasingly difficult for him to attend party constituency executive meetings in Louth.  “I am regrettably resigning as constituency delegate.  I want, however, to express my continued support to you and your colleagues in this challenging period for the party.”  Gallagher has said he joined the executive to campaign for sub-contractors who had been ripped off.  But local activists in Louth have privately said that was not his function, that he was there as constituency delegate representing Fianna Fáil in Louth.  Indeed, the Comhairle Dáilcheantair made an official complaint to Fianna Fáil headquarters in the summer of 2010 and demanded his resignation because of his non-attendance at meetings.  His campaign team say he indicated verbally to Dorgan in September 2010 he was stepping down but decided to make it formal in January.  The team also say he resigned from the Ravensdale cumann in March 2010.  But Gallagher did not completely cut ties with the party.  He seriously considered running for the party in December 2010 before deciding against it towards the end of the month.  He said it was one of a number of offers he considered but other activists dispute this, saying he eventually decided against because he knew he could not get the support of sufficient cumainn, some of whom were vehemently against him over his non-attendance at the national executive.  The residual effect of that was seen when all four Fianna Fáil councillors on Louth County Council voted for Mary Davis and not Gallagher during the nominations campaign.  During the general election campaign in February, he appeared on platforms and at launch campaigns with four Fianna Fáil candidates: Billy Kelleher, Dara Calleary, Charlie McConalogue, and Margaret Conlon.


Gallagher became a businessman at a comparatively late stage, in his early 40s.  While working with the Louth enterprise board, he and a friend, toolmaker Derek Roddy, came up with an idea for a smart cable system for cable TV, broadband, telephone systems, and alarms in homes.  The first incarnation of the company Home Wiring Systems was given a €25,395 loan by the enterprise board in 2001, which became the subject of a long-drawn out legal battle before the matter was eventually settled in 2008.  A subsequent company, Smarthomes, grew rapidly during the boom, from an initial turnover of €40,000 in 2002 to over €7 million in 2007.  The then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern opened its new headquarters in 2006 at a time when the company announced a €10 million expansion, which would create 100 jobs.  It made a pre-tax profit of more than €500,000 that year and €105,000 in 2007.  The company experienced record orders during 2007 and 2008, to over €18 million.  But it was a double-edged sword.  “At this time construction companies were finding it more difficult to sell homes, and were turning to in-home technology to make developments more attractive to buyers,” said a spokesman.  Many of the orders did not materialise and problems arose.  The company made a provision for €208,000 in bad debt in 2008 and its overall bad debt amounted to €1.2 million, said the spokesman.  Gallagher used the non-payment of one €186,000 debt to Smarthomes as the basis for a campaign in 2009, highlighting the fact that sub-contractors had been left unpaid by developers.  Smarthomes posted losses of €490,000 for 2009, the last annual accounts available.  The company has reduced its liabilities to creditors from more than €1 million to closer to €500,000, has no outstanding creditors, and having repositioned itself to cater for a growing smart energy market is predicting a return to profitability this year.  Gallagher resigned as director in April 2010 and is no longer connected with the company.  Smarthomes received more than €700,000 in funding from Enterprise Ireland since 2004 and also received €41,000 funding from the North-South body Intertrade Ireland, of which Gallagher was a director for a period.  It said in 2009 it would create more than 100 jobs but they did not materialise.  It is not possible to evaluate the exact amount of money Gallagher made from the business during his decade-long involvement.  In 2008, he and Roddy received more than €500,000 between them.  That comprised €196,000 in rent for the company’s headquarters (which they owned); €55,000 in pension costs; and €195,000 in directors’ remuneration.  “The remuneration at the time for the directors was in line with the level of business the company was carrying out.  The rent payable was in line with rents in Co Louth.  The patents payable are in line with legal advice,” said a spokesman, who also stated Gallagher received €167,000 in patent income over 10 years.  The rent bill fell to €10,000 last year because the premises were sublet to another company.  The patents are now owned by Smarthomes.  His P60s from Smarthomes, which he published on his website, showed he was paid €50,999 in 2009 and €12,300 in 2010 up to his departure in April.


The image conjured up by the TV series Dragons’ Den is that the entrepreneurs are all multimillionaires, worth tens if not hundreds of millions.  That may be the case for the British dragons – whose wealth would be comparable to the likes of Dermot Desmond, Denis O’Brien and Michael O’Leary – but the wealth of the five Irish dragons is more modest.  Some, like Gallagher, amassed their wealth directly or indirectly as a result of the property boom.  It is difficult to gauge Gallagher’s net worth.  It is certain that Smarthomes was a massive beneficiary of the boom, particularly during 2006 and 2007.  The total remuneration package for both he and Roddy from Smarthomes in 2008 was €500,000, including almost €200,000 in rent.  Gallagher left Smarthomes in April 2010 and divested his remaining shares earlier this year.  Since 2009, he has focused more on his motivational speaking business though Beach Homes Training and Consulting, where his wife Trish is listed as a director.  It listed a total of €153,000 for debtors recorded in its latest accounts, which are for 2009.  Gallagher was also recorded as having a director’s loan of €89,000 in that year.  In a number of interviews, Gallagher has said he has invested in property and also in pension funds.  Besides his family home in Blackrock, Gallagher owns a small bungalow at Killygordon, Co Donegal (the ancestral home of his father) which he has assigned, rent free, to his aunt (the sole remaining member of his father’s family).  He owns 11 acres of agricultural land at the property.  He owns a quarter share of the family home at The Square, Ballyhaise, Co Cavan, with his three other siblings.  He has a beneficial interest in, but is not the owner of, an apartment in an assisted-living scheme in Ardee, which was purchased with his mother, who is now deceased.  He owns a two-bedroom apartment in Berlin, which is an investment property.  He also partly owns a three-quarter acre site at Giles Quay, Co Louth, and is the joint owner of the Smarthomes factory building in Dundalk.


There are 15 members of the core campaign team in Dublin, with a 50/50 split between paid and voluntary staff.

The team is led by Cathal Lee, a former Fianna Fáil urban district councillor in Louth, who is a long-time friend of the entrepreneur.  Lee is the director and has been working alongside Gallagher since spring.  He has assisted with strategy, messaging, and the overall direction of the campaign.  Two senior advisers with the last government are also working on the campaign on a professional basis.  They are Donal Geoghegan who was the Green Party’s top adviser when it was in government and Richard Moore, who was press adviser for former minister Dermot Ahern for almost a decade.  Geoghegan is in charge of the campaign tour, co-ordinates volunteers and oversees the logistics.  The number of volunteers nationwide has shot up from about two dozen three weeks ago to some 1,300 as of this week, following Gallagher’s surge in the polls.  The overwhelming majority have approached the campaign, according to his team.  The vastly experienced Moore, who is popular with journalists, has become the main contact for the media.  He has previously advised ministers Mary O’Rourke; Alan Dukes and Michael Lowry.  The other main media adviser is Suzanne Collins, who is a former press officer with Fianna Fáil, who also worked for the SDLP.  Gallagher’s wife Trish is also centrally involved with the campaign and accompanies him everywhere.  Communications consultant Jack Murray, whose company handled PR for Smarthomes, is also involved as a voluntary adviser.  Murray is a former press officer for the Progressive Democrats.

Gallagher received loan in 2009 that breached company law

A large loan that breached company law was paid to presidential candidate Seán Gallagher by one of his companies in 2009.  Asked about the matter yesterday Mr Gallagher said it had been brought to his attention by his accountants in 2010 and the money had been repaid.  Illegal loans to company directors were highlighted by the Director of Corporate Enforcement, Paul Appleby, in May 2009 and an amendment to the Companies Act in July 2009 made it easier to prosecute such offences.  Directors who permit or authorise such loans can, on indictment, be liable for a fine of up to €12,700, or up to five years in jail, or both.  However, in most instances prosecutions are not proceeded with if the loans are repaid.  Accounts for a company owned by Mr Gallagher, Beach House Training and Consulting Ltd, show he had an €82,829 interest free loan from the company at the end of December 2009.  The accounts for the company at that date show it had net assets of €114,320.  Under company law a director should not have a loan from a company that exceeds 10 per cent of its assets.  Mr Gallagher’s loan is for in excess of 70 per cent of his company’s assets.  In 2009 Mr Appleby said illegal loans to directors “increase the risk of companies not meeting their debts to company creditors and other stakeholders”.  Beach House Training was incorporated in November 2008 and its only set of filed accounts is for the period from then to the end of 2009.  The directors are Mr Gallagher and his wife.  The company is used by Mr Gallagher to charge for personal speaking engagements and to manage an investment he made as part of the Dragon’s Den programme.  The accounts show an issued share capital of €100 and accumulated profits of €114,220.  Creditors include the State, with €17,503 being owed in corporation tax and €25,174 being owed in VAT at year’s end.  The company’s accounts were approved by the company’s directors on August 5th, 2010, and make no mention of the loan having been paid off at that date.  “A director’s loan of €82,829 was made available to Seán Gallagher in 2009,” his spokesman said yesterday.  “Upon compiling the accounts for 2009, Mr Gallagher was notified by his accountants that this loan was not in accordance with the Companies Act.  Upon being advised of this by his accountants, Mr Gallagher repaid the director’s loan.  This will be reflected in the company accounts for 2010.”  Auditors are obliged to report suspected illegal directors’ loans to Mr Appleby’s office.  The 2009 Beach House accounts are not audited.  Small companies are allowed not have their accounts audited.

General discussion / Re: The Race for the ARAS.....
« on: October 20, 2011, 09:14:46 AM »
Lar, you have demonstrated why Mitchell has election posters everywhere. Those people will vote. They will recognize his face and he will get votes even if they think he is Dana.

Which also explains why SF went with a high "name/face recognition" candidate.

General discussion / Re: The Race for the ARAS.....
« on: October 19, 2011, 05:23:15 PM »
I would have said "conspiracy theory", but you don't seem to have any theories about this suspected conspiracy.

You slag off the Indo at every opportunity, fair enough so do I, but when asked an awkward question about SF's finances your defense was if the Indo couldn't find it then it couldn't be there. This line of argument actually gives credit to the Indo.

Back to the donations:

If Ulick is not correct then the question remains unanswered.

If Ulick is correct then it creates the interesting anomaly of SF apparently using partition to suit themselves for financial purposes. That would kinda undermine both the 32 county thing and the no 'money motivated people here' mantra don't you think?

Ach I don't think so. A bit like saying if you're a Republican and live in the North you shouldn't accept British benefits.  I'm sure SF has to register as a political party in both jurisdictions?  While these temporary impediments to Irish unity are in place ;) IMHO it's fair enough if they're able to take advantage of any "anomalies".  Let the rest of the parties become 32 county parties and they can all do it!

General discussion / Re: The Race for the ARAS.....
« on: October 19, 2011, 04:45:07 PM »
It's hilarious watching the SFers here trying to justify the blatant abuse of the partition (that they don't recognise) by SF TDs to evade the laws in the Republic.

Oh really?

General discussion / Re: Your 1st "real" concert...
« on: October 19, 2011, 10:13:55 AM »
Elvis Costello - Ulster Hall.  Think it was March 1978..either a few days before or after Patrick's Day, IIRC.

General discussion / Re: Rugby World Cup 2011
« on: October 19, 2011, 09:08:51 AM »
France name an unchanged side for the final.

Parra still at 10 ???

General discussion / Re: The Race for the ARAS.....
« on: October 19, 2011, 09:06:50 AM »
Ask McGuinness this!

Does he think we'll get to 200 pages before next Thursday?

General discussion / Re: The Race for the ARAS.....
« on: October 18, 2011, 03:31:43 PM »
Eamon Gilmore was in Official Sinn Fein in the mid '70's

Eoghan Harris was in it long before that  :D

To be fair Eoghan has clearly moved on...

General discussion / Re: Rugby World Cup 2011
« on: October 18, 2011, 03:29:04 PM »
Anybody have any thoughts on this??

Gatland thought about cheating and withdrawing a prop to get the Scrums uncontested. Fair play to him for not doing it I say and it's very honest of him to admit it crossed his mind. Surely this needs to be looked into by the IRB!

Didn't see him condemn Mike Philips cheating in the quick line-out try in Cardiff. He's trying to take some moral high ground with his whim about the occasion etc etc - It's just a dig at Alan Rolland.

"In the terms of the rules and the regulations, he is perfectly entitled to give a red card - but every game is different."

Well at least that quote from Gatland that is progress. He needs go one the next step and wonder how the ref was put in a position to be 'perfectly entitled to give a red'.

Well yes, every game is different but the rules and regulations should be the same for all games.  With that sort of logic Warren could find himself on the ITV panel for the next World Cup!

General discussion / Re: The Race for the ARAS.....
« on: October 17, 2011, 11:43:55 AM »

General discussion / Re: The Race for the ARAS.....
« on: October 17, 2011, 09:13:42 AM »
Haven't seen a thread on this so I do not know if one has been up already and and maybe taken down.
Today's front page story in the Irish Daily Mail is that an allegation of a sexual nature has been made against Michael D Higgins and that a statement was made to the Gardai last Friday. The allegations go back 25 years. The complainant is a 47 year old 4FM DJ Niall Boylan.
Unless i'm mistaken, no other media outlet has carried this story. Strange that somebody would suddenly make a complaint for something that happened 25 years ago, just before the election.

Unless that complaint was about Martin McGuinness of course... ;)

General discussion / Re: Rugby World Cup 2011
« on: October 16, 2011, 03:20:00 PM »
ITV just won't let this go... ::)

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