Sean Gallagher claims 'Tweetgate' 'changed outcome of presidential election'

Sean Gallagher claims 'Tweetgate' 'changed outcome of presidential election'

Presidential challenger Sean Gallagher has blamed the RTE TV debate of the 2011 election for Aras an Uachtarain as a “vote changer” which altered the outcome of that race.

The Dragon's Den Star outlined to Leitrim County Council today some of the ambitions he has if he was first nominated for the race and then elected at the October 26 vote.

The businessman pledged to prioritise concerns around the marginalised.

He also outlined initiatives to support the disabled nationwide, including a work placement programme.

The arts would also be prioritised, he said, and Mr Gallagher pledged to visit Irish peacekeepers abroad.

However, he launched an attack on RTE during his speech to councillors over a controversial Tweet put to him in the 2011 presidential debate about fundraising and Fianna Fáil.

He told the meeting that the RTE Frontline debate just days before the 2011 vote “changed the outcome” of the election.

“What happened in studio changed the outcome of the presidential election. On that evening, I let myself down and let you councillors down.”

Mr Gallagher said that it was an “unprecedented event”, a false Tweet presented to him “as if it was fact”.

This allowed the Sinn Féin candidate to level an accusation against him, he said, which caused him to doubt his memory.

It also made him look “unconvincing” and many changed their mind on the night, councillors were told.

The businessman said he felt compelled to hold RTE “accountable” for their actions.

Mr Gallagher sued RTE over the events that night and received an apology and a substantial payout.

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