Gallagher accuser a convicted fuel-smuggler
Update: Gallagher on facebook denying he is man in a 1992 photo cited on David Cochrane (of politics.ie)’s twitter page.
Sinn Fein’s allegations linking Gallagher to a cheque for €5,000 for FF have been undermined following the revelations that the accuser has convictions for cross-border fuel-smuggling and tax-evasion and leased his General Election HQ to Gerry Adams. On Tonight with Vincent Brown it was reported that SF has now revealed his identity as Hugh Morgan. In February 2011, the Irish Mail on Sunday reported that Morgan plead guilty to fuel smuggling and tax-evasion in 1998, receiving an 18-month suspended sentence, and being required to pay €500,000 in excise duties and €25,000 in Prosecution costs.
SINN Féin president Gerry Adams is renting his election campaign HQ from the family firm of a convicted crossborder fuel smuggler, the Irish Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Festooned with posters of the Dáil hopeful, and flying the tricolour from the second storey, the office – above Gormley’s Pub in Park Street, Dundalk – is in a building belonging to Morgan Fuels Ireland Limited, owned by Hugh Morgan.
Newry businessman Morgan pleaded guilty to fuel smuggling and tax evasion at Belfast Crown Court in June 1998. He received a suspended 18-month jail sentence. He paid £500,000 in excise duties and VAT and was ordered to pay £25,000 prosecution costs.
But when Mr Adams was asked about Mr Morgan’s criminal convictions, he laughed them off, saying: ‘You’re great, great craic.’ He then claimed he didn’t know who Sinn Féin was renting the office space from and said he didn’t know Mr Morgan personally.
He said the lease was ‘a totally bona fide legal contract between Sinn Féin and the owner of the building… sin é, that’s it’.
When asked if Mr Morgan was any relation to departing Louth TD Arthur Morgan, Mr Adams said: ‘I wouldn’t say so,’ and joked: ‘But there’s Morgan’s rum now. It’s spice rum – especially, it’s very nice with Coca-Cola and a twist of lemon.’ Speaking during a canvass in mid-Louth, he then turned to his three aides and asked them: ‘Is Morgan’s Fuel any connection to wee Arthur?’
The revelations threaten to backfire on the McGuinness campaign just as false allegations against Mary Harney in relation to the Flood Tribunal did on Magill Magazine in 2002.