Presidential Election candidate Joan Freeman has said she was unaware of the business background of Irish-American businessman Des Walsh when she took a loan from him of €120,000 to part-fund her campaign.

Speaking this afternoon in Cork where she attended a conference on autism, Ms Freeman insisted that Mr Walsh had retired from business and that the money had come from his personal funds.

On Friday, several newspaper reports noted Mr Walsh's company Herbalife, of which he was president, had paid $200 million to the US federal trade commission amid allegations of pyramid selling.

Ms Freeman told RTÉ News she was not aware of Mr Walsh's business dealings, that he had retired from his business, and that the money had come from his personal funds. 

She said it would not have been possible for her to get a loan for her campaign in this country.

She also said it would be very expensive to run a campaign for the presidential election and she did not have the party or business backing which other candidates had.

Ms Freeman said she was more than delighted that Mr Walsh had given her a loan so that she would be able to achieve what she wanted to achieve.

She said the loan would be repaid at an interest of 9% "exactly as it should be paid".

She also said she was glad that she was independent enough to be able to borrow money and pay it back as it should be.

Ms Freeman will launch her election campaign at noon tomorrow in Dublin.

She said there would be four main pillars to her campaign and these would involve changing the dialogue around mental health and seeing the elderly as an asset to our communities rather than a burden.

Meanwhile, Presidential candidate Sean Gallagher has said he has made a voluntary declaration to the Standards in Public Office Commission outlining his interests last year.

He said the return was not required by law but was very much in keeping with what Oireachtas members and senior office holders submit annually.

Mr Gallagher said it was done in the interests of transparency and setting standards for the office.

Asked if he was putting it up to Michael D Higgins, given the focus on spending in the President's office, Mr Gallagher said the most surprising aspect of what emerged at last week's Public Accounts Committee hearing was that the Presidential accounts were not audited. 

He said it was incumbent on everyone to lead by example.

Mr Gallagher released the declaration to RTÉ News.

It was submitted to the commission on 21 September and shows he is a director and part shareholder of several companies including Sean Gallagher Business Matters.  

He also owns three properties in Dundalk and Cavan, along with 11 acres of agricultural land in Killygordon, Donegal.

Several of the candidates toured the Ballinasloe Horse Fair today.

Asked about campaign transparency, Gavin Duffy said his intention was to be fully compliant with the Standards in Public Office Commission so anything that was required would be done.

The fair was opened by President Michael D Higgins in his official capacity.

Sinn Féin's Liadh Ní Riada was also there but she did not have any media engagements.

Peter Casey did not have any public engagements today.

Additional reporting: Sandra Hurley