The Irish Mail on Sunday

Pictures emerge of FG candidate’s ‘unsavoury’ prank

- By John Lee and Debbie McCann

GRAPHIC photograph­s have emerged of Fine Gael general election candidate John McGahon engaging in an unsavoury prank on a man lying unconsciou­s in a tent at a music festival.

The Fine Gael hierarchy has known about the events at a music festival since the Irish Mail on Sunday informed the party 10 days ago.

On Friday, Mr McGahon, 27, went on local radio station LMFM, located in the Louth constituen­cy he hopes to represent, and took part in an interview in which he admitted to engaging in ‘stupid’ and ‘unacceptab­le’ behaviour due to alcohol abuse over a 10-year period.

In the photograph, which was provided to the Irish Mail on Sunday by constituen­ts, Mr McGahon can be seen crouched beside an unconcious man in a tent.

The social media post alleges that Mr McGahon, on discoverin­g the man uninvited in a friend’s tent, decided to play an unpleasant prank involving a chocolate bar.

The photograph is part of a social media post, tagged ‘Oxegen 10’. It is dated July 12, 2010.

The name of John McGahon in the post is linked to the young politician’s Facebook page and he also comments on this social media post, acknowledg­ing it.

Last week, Mr McGahon and the Fine Gael press office refused to deal with questions. However, the post was taken down by the Facebook friend of Mr McGahon who first posted it.

On Friday the MoS approached Mr McGahon about the issue outside the LMFM offices where he was given an opportunit­y to address the allegation­s.

Mr McGahon replied, ‘Well…’ before saying he was ‘going to get his phone’ and getting into the passenger seat of an Opel car. His father Brendan – a former TD – was at the wheel of the car.

Friday’s radio interview had been intended as an opportunit­y to set the record straight after he failed to address fully his involvemen­t in a drunken fight in a previous interview on the Michael Reade Show on LMFM.

In an interview that became increasing­ly disjointed, John McGahon admitted at the outset: ‘I didn’t give you an honest answer last time. You asked me a very straight out question. You asked me was I in a fight, I danced around the question and the truth is I was in a fight.’

The politician was involved in a street altercatio­n in June. He said on Friday that an investigat­ion was underway. He admitted that he engaged in ‘unacceptab­le’ and ‘stupid’ behaviour due to alcohol over ‘a decade’. He also said he would get therapy for a drink problem, but continues to drink.

Since the incident in June, Mr McGahon said he has been reflective.

‘It’s made me look at my own behaviour,’ he said. ‘All the way back to college. And I look back on it and there are so many times when I say, “You know what, John: your behaviour wasn’t acceptable there”.’

At no point did Mr McGahon confront the incident that took place during the 2010 music festival, despite a list of questions about the matter being provided to him and the Fine Gael press office over a week earlier. After confrontin­g Mr McGahon at the radio station, the MoS asked Fine Gael again for a statement.

The party has yet to respond to the specific allegation­s.

‘Any assault should be reported to the relevant authoritie­s. The party will not be commenting further,’ a spokesman said.

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