With Ireland's political leaders gearing up for tonight's televised debate (9pm, TV3), a potentially scandalous revelation has soured the race to be elected ENTs rep at Dublin's Trinity College.
Caolán Maher, a front-runner for the role of Entertainment Officer in TCD's student election, was allegedly spotted dishing out free cans to attendees as part of his campaign at Trinity Hall last night.
We'll be the first to admit that we poured some out for our homie Caolán when we learned that, according to Trinity's student newspaper The University Times, the handing out of cans is "forbidden under the gift-giving rules of the Electoral Commission, and is also likely to be seen as a breach of the College Alcohol Policy."
Caolán, Caolán, Caolán...
Reporters from UT claim they saw Maher off-loading cans to fellow students, even telling some to vote for him in the immediate aftermath of what onlookers presumably believed to be a generous exchange of pleasantries...and cans.
Some time later, the same reporters witnessed Maher being escorted from the premises by security staff, with one Trinity student telling The Sliced Pan that it was "the ultimate college movie exit," and that "all the moment was lacking was a Blink 182 song of some description."
In an interview with UT earlier today, Maher was quick to down any allegations of foul-play, saying:
That was not me. I don’t do that. That 100 per cent was not me because I know the [Electoral Commission] guidelines.
He also told the newspaper that nobody handed out cans on his behalf.
A member of a competing campaign team revealed that two other election candidates reported the incident to the Electoral Commission today. This person spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Incredibly, Maher also has a twin brother, but told The University Times that his twin wasn't present at Trinity Hall last night, ruling out the ol' switch-a-roo.
Maher confirmed that he himself was present, and that he "brought a couple of beers", but "wasn't handing them out."
Hilary Leeson, Vice President of the JCR, told UT:
It’s really inappropriate for a candidate breaking the rules by handing out cans.
For more on #Cangate, check out the rest of the story over at The University Times, including Maher's shady history with election fines and the controversy surrounding external sponsorship from his 'Wrekt' night.
Serious hat-tip to UT editor Edmund Heaphy, Róisín Power, Eleanor O'Mahony and Sinéad Loftus