I wrote a substantial piece earlier dealing with the Fianna Fáil background of the “Independent” presidential candidate Seán Gallagher, a background which dates to the early 1980s. However in my researches some weeks ago I came across some information that I have been debating whether or not to discuss. Firstly it is (as far as I can tell) a strictly personal matter for Mr. Gallagher and therefore should be off-limits. Politics I do, people’s private lives, whatever area they work in, are their own concern. Unless (yes, a caveat) those private affairs effect their public work. In this case the information I’m going to write about is not a secret but is in the public domain, available on the internet (and on other media), and may be of some concern to the candidate. Especially should he succeed in his campaign and be elected to Áras an Uachtaráin.
In August 2007 Gallagher took a trip to Israel, staying at the Lot Spa Hotel. While there he apparently met one Matthew A. Katz, who later went on to found Health Rights USA, one of those very American medical outfits that claim a not-for-profit status, mixing a “wonder diet” with trips to the Dead Sea health resort mentioned above. According to a November 2007 blog posting by Katz:
“If you are suffering from psoriasis then you know how this can complicate your life. However, this need not be lifelong affliction. In fact, if you take a look at this video of my own recovery, you will see the results. Meanwhile, I came across this remarkable video on YouTube about a group of young people whose parents paid for their treatment overseas. They, too, saw their psoriasis clear up in record time.
The mission of this blog is to invite Jewish and Christian philanthropists to lend their support to assist as many people as we can to experience the same benefits rather than suffer. It is known that many cannot afford this treatment because it is not covered by health care plans in the United States, Canada, England, and Ireland. Contact us for more information regarding giving to this worthy cause at…”
He also posted in November 2007:
“Sean Gallagher from Ireland and Matthew Katz from New Haven, CT landed in Tel Aviv early this past August on a sweltering 110 degree day. Both were bound to the Lot Hotel spa and clinic on the Dead Sea the. Neither man knew the other nor what was about to happen in the next 21 days. Each experienced nearly 100% remission.
Each man had left home with an extreme case of psoriasis which they had lived with for more than 2 decades and within 21-days they were clear of most lesions!
As remarkable as this may sound, it’s common place at the Dead Sea clinic where Dr. Harari and his team has been working to help cure patients for over 15 years. It is a popularly accepted cure in Israel and in some European countries where healthcare pays for nearly 100% of this full-month stay at the hotel and spa/clinic. It can run as high as $3,500 for room, board and medical care, plus airfare. So, you can imagine how Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Katz felt shelling out this many “sheckles” in Israeli dollars with no guarantee of success and without any medical reimbursements in either Ireland or the U.S.A.
But, with the effort they made, they were rewarded with a clean bill of health and there is no price that they can put on this.
Returning to their homelands, Mr. Katz and Mr. Gallagher have remained close friends and each are encouraging everyone they meet who has either psoriasis or arthritis and rheumatism conditions to make the journey to the Dead Sea clinic.
Mr. Katz is even returning with a group next summer. For information about his treatment plan before and after for more information about this healing or to order the booklet please contact Mr. Katz at…”
Since then Katz has moved on to a business website (which repeats the description of the meeting with Seán Gallagher, who is pictured) with a more professional look, offering a means to reverse psoriasis, arthritis and type 2 diabetes, and treatments for $11,995.
“We will train you in 21 days how to “Eat Right” – “Exercise Properly” and “Reduce Stress.”
The Dead Sea and sun are known for positive effects on skin and joints. Look at this YouTube to see families around the world who go for their skin clearing.
HealthRightUSA, Inc. also includes a five-year follow-up by board certified family physician, Dr. Joel Fuhrman to commit to keeping you on track with continued wellness. This is our commitment to you! You need to be as committed to your success in order to remain clear-skinned and strong.
This 5 year program begins with a 21-day Dead Sea spa vacation and tours of historic sites plus includes:
- All doctor fees, weekly checkups and prescribed creams.
- Dead Sea and sun solarium treatments daily.
- Hotel room rental fees and taxes.
- All Meals (Kosher “vegan” prepared for autoimmune diseases).
- Educational programs (each evening lectures after daily sun/sea treatments).
- Access to exhibit hall during meals for questions with professionals.
- Discount on all products (ie: books, CD’s, vitamins, water filters, juicers)
- Free daily classes (yoga, guided meditation, group discussions, funny movies!).
- Hiking and outdoor educational programs designed for fitness, stamina and confidence building.
- Vegan food preparation and cooking lessons.
- Site-seeing included to historic Israeli sites.
“ALL INCLUSIVE 5 year Wellness and Health Support Vacation Program” with a 3-week stay at our Dead Sea clinic is $11,995 per person. ONLY $995 extra per spouse/partner* Airfare is NOT included due to multiple departure locations. Group rates are available via our airline company.”
All of which profit-making for a non-profit organisation seems to have caused trouble with Google, as this appeal by Katz in 2010 makes clear:
We are a new non-profit with Google Grant acceptance #994-225-6178.
We would like to go through an appeal process with staff person at Google who knows about IRS 501c3 criterion for accepting us as a non-profit. We have been highly scrutinized by the IRS and they have checked our mission (see this link please). It’s a treatment approved for decades by Dermatologist around the world and doctors at the Dead Sea in Israel along with our Medical team in the U.S. has 30 years of documented success with diet for Psoriasis, Arthritis and related issues.
But GoogleAds system will not allow us to use the keywords such as “Psoriasis” in our ads. They don’t understand our “scholarship” program and alternative treatment choice. This is the right of patients to choose their own type of treatment. They kicked out our proposed keywords as “medical claims for miracle cures.” This rejection of direct advertising terms like Psoriasis or Eczema Treatment forces us to come up with other ways to promote our treatment, such as our books on diet, etc.
Why can’t GoogleAds allow us to do our mission? See our 501c3 letter on our “Why Donate” page, which demonstrates that we don’t make claims of cures, but we are providing a service to those interested in alternative treatment. Please give us a reasonable way to promote our safe treatment program using keywords that get patients to learn exactly what we offer.
All that we have worked with you for months is to get help to give FREE scholarships to those who cannot afford care.
I greatly appreciate your support.
Matthew A. Katz
The free scholarships referred to above are explained here:
“Your tax-deductible donations go to scholarships and spreading the word about our mission for general wellness and a natural, non-drug Psoriasis treatment.
Many cannot afford this treatment because it is not covered by health care plans countries like the United States, Canada, England, and Ireland. Our mission is to invite individual givers as well as large philanthropies to lend their support.Our initial goal is $1.4 million to cover the costs of a full year of program planning, professional fundraising and advertising. Any amount that brings us closer to this is greatly appreciated. This goal includes 50 patient scholarships per month. ALL DONATIONS ARE TAX-DEDUCTIBLE. (see our 501c3 certificate below the Donate button).
Would you be able to give:
$18, $36, $72, $100, $150, $200, $250,
…or another amount?
Every scholarship patient must have income less than $45,000 per person, $75,000 per couple, $85,000 per family. Each individual at this program costs $8,995 and any partner or spouse costs $995 which includes hotel, food, and all program fees for a full 21-day stay. Airfare is not included. This is what your scholarship dollars support.”
I’m presuming the donations (via a payment through a Chipin login, a somewhat unusual method) help with running the organisation in addition to the payments made by patients themselves though I find the arrangement somewhat puzzling. Maybe that is just a cultural thing as the organisation – and its functioning – is very American as can be seen elsewhere on the business website:
“Qualified College Students Can Apply for Internship Experience from anywhere around the World who speak these languages!
Seeking qualified college students who speak multiple languages (Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, French, Italian, Greek, Slavish & English) to assist in blogging, social networking and contacting other nutritionists who can refer chronic psoriasis patients for treatment tours to the Dead Sea.
Demographic studies show that there are 125 million in India, China, Japan and in Europe which includes 7.5 million alone in the U.S.
To discuss Internship options, please fill-out the form on the right and we will email you a “getting started” package.
Once trained, you may also qualify for our “Payment Plan” by becoming a Tour Marketing Salesperson.
HealthRightUSA, Inc. pays Intern/Salespeople $200 per patient referred who registers for at our Dead Sea clinic for one of these sessions. An additional $50 if the partner/spouse joins them at the clinic.”
The website also includes links to several videos on YouTube where diet books and other materials available for sale from Health Right USA are discussed. In fact the diet part of these offers seem to be based (or linked) to the much-debated American nutritionist Dr. Joel Fuhrman as the site makes clear:
“We offer FULL SCHOLARSHIPS* for Psoriasis, Eczema, Psoriatic Arthritis and type-2 Diabetes patients programs to help them heal at the Dead Sea in Israel. We use natural methods of sun treatments, special sea mineral baths and physicain supervised healthy vegan diets.
We teach them “healthy living” through proper vegetarian style diet, exercise,meditation and attitudes that will help them maintain their general health and maintain clear skin for years to come.
We have in place ”Five Year Wellnes Program” to enhance long-term remission and further document the value of Dr. Fuhrman’s natural treatment program
*Scholarships are based on the economy and our fundraising efforts currently underway. Please give generously to help others receive this treatment!”
Okay. I’m not questioning the validity or otherwise of the treatments or programs offered by the American-based organisation, HRUSA, Inc. Nor do I question the ways by which it raises donations or earns revenues. It states that it is registered in the United States as a “501(c) organization”, that is a tax-exempt, nonprofit corporation so presumably it has been examined in some way by US federal authorities to see if it qualifies for that status (there is a letter of confirmation from the Internal Revenue Service, though it is addressed to the organisation via one Sandra L. Cox and a PO Box number rather than a company address).
My only question centres on the very public association of a man wanting to be the next President of Ireland with this group and the need for this relationship to be clarified. It does not touch upon whatever private medical condition or treatment that Seán Gallagher may have had in the past (or currently still does). That is no ones business but his own, and rightly so. We all have private lives, even politicians, and not everything needs to be known.
However, what does need to be known is how Seán Gallagher is linked to Health Rights USA, Inc. and why does it use his name and image in its promotion? Are there no links? If so should he not request that they alter their website to remove his name and photographs? This is not a “muck raking” exercise since, as far as one can tell, there is no muck to rake. It is a simple matter of clarification and the need for someone who may hold the highest office in this nation to be above reproach. It may well be (and I presume it is) that Mr. Gallagher is unaware of the unusual prominence he is given on the Health Rights USA site. Or perhaps he is a donor and wishes this philanthropy to remain private (a laudable stance, if so, and I apologise for raising it)? Whatever the case a speedy answer will put this question to rest.
- Seán Gallagher – A Fianna Fáil Sockpuppet? (ansionnachfionn.com)
- “He’s a good FF man… ” RTE hampering Gallagher (politics.ie)
- What exactly is Sean G qualified in? (politics.ie)
- Morning Ireland : FF can now vote for one of their own (politics.ie)
- Sean Gallagher joins frontrunners in Irish presidential race (guardian.co.uk)
- Sean Gallagher refuses to debate with Michael D Higgins (politics.ie)