Sean Gallagher – honouring old debts

 Podcast: Presidential candidate Sean Gallagher says it was “legal and financial advice” which led him to turn his back on repaying the state investment in his company. http://tinyurl.com/6htsays

I spent a day sifting through Companies Office records for Sean Gallagher’s companies. I then set those alongside interviews he has given about his businesses. What emerges is a picture of Gallagher taking €20,000 from the taxpayer to set up “Home Wiring Systems”. Then he changed the name of the business to “Smart Homes”, transferred all of the assets to the new company but none of the debts.

Two years later the Enterprise Board came looking for its money back which was followed by three years of legal dispute before Gallagher payed back “almost all” of the investment. He says he “has no regrets” about the return he offered the state on its investment and did what he did because that was what he was advised to do.

The difficulty is that at the time the Enterpise Board was looking for €20,000 back that Gallagher acknowledges was very important in the embryonic stage of the business he had €650,000 in the bank.

My interview (Drivetime, RTÉ Radio 1) with him took a few days to secure, but in fairness it has to be acknowledged that there was no attempt to duck out of it. He had prepared meticulously, referring regularly to three hand written pages of notes and stuck to his guns while we were recording. Afterwards though he acknowledged there was a moral dimension to the episode which he maybe …. might … perhaps … with the benefit of hindsight … have dealt with differently. And it does seem like an awful lot of effort to save a yourself a couple of grand.See more

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