Ganley is a 40-year-old businessman who spent the first years of his life in London - he has an English accent - before returning with his Irish parents to their Galway home. He is what a previous generation might have called a buccaneer. Almost as soon as the Iron Curtain fell he was off to Eastern Europe, where he began to amass his fortune. Exactly how he made his money is still mysterious to outsiders because he is a serial entrepreneur who did not take over the helm of an existing business, or establish just one business and then guide its growth.
This allows his critics to associate him with some of the shadier elements of Eastern European business and politics, something they have not been slow to do. Last year, a current affairs show on the Irish national broadcaster, RTE, even managed to associate him indirectly with what some have described as a mysterious death in Albania, a dreadful smear that caused him to begin libel proceedings against the station.
The vehicle Ganley used to fight the Lisbon campaign was Libertas. He had founded it some months before the campaign as a small pro-free-market think-tank that verged on libertarian in outlook. It wanted a Europe that was open, accountable, properly democratic and more pro-business. It wasn't set up with the Lisbon campaign in mind, but when it began it was tailor-made for Libertas to make its mark. It did this through a well-funded billboard advertising campaign and a relentless whistle-stop tour by Ganley combined with endless media appearances.
The fact that he was new helped him gain profile. The media were tired of the same old faces on both sides campaigning for or against the latest treaty. Ganley was personable and telegenic. He was rich, and even better, he looked rich, always dressing in very sharp pin-stripes.
His London, slightly cockney accent made him somewhat exotic (as odd as that may seem to British readers), and the fact that he had appeared seemingly from nowhere, having made his money - the question still remains how much - in a manner no one seemed able to quite explain, only added to the air of mystery and therefore the media appeal. To some he was a kind of Bond villain, set only on doing evil.
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