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Bertie, bungs and bullshit ! October 3, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Ireland & the Irish.

I am listening “live” to the elected leader of the country come face to face with his Dáil colleagues and answer questions relating to the taking or receiving of monies from various events in Dublin and Manchester in the late 80s – early 90s. The hardworking parliament of this country is only reconvening today after their long and sure to have been arduous summer recess and the Taoiseach could not have asked for a worse scenario as he takes the podium again today.

The facts of the matter are simple. Bertie Ahern T.D., then the Minister for Finance through his own admission, received monies from businessmen in Manchester in 1993. Leaving aside the “gifts” he got earlier from friends, he has declared that this 1993 money was (a) received unsolicited and given to him as a private citizen and (b) he broke no law whatsoever, ethical or otherwise, in taking it.

Right – here’s my take on it. At the time Bertie was the Minister for Finance and knew that he couldn’t take any monies offered to him in this way. He still did. He at least should apologise to the Irish people and admit that what he did was wrong.

Here’s where it gets interesting. Lots of politicians and ministers who have been queuing up to defend him, believe that the Taoiseach did nothing wrong. From a moral standpoint, they see nothing wrong with the happenings. Leaving aside (cough) the quote from the Taoiseach in 1996 where he said :

The public are entitled to have an absolute guarantee of the financial probity and integrity of their elected representatives, their officials and above all of Ministers. They need to know that they are under financial obligations to nobody. (Dáil Éireann transcript, December 1996)”.

we must ask, as an electorate, tough questions of our leaders and demand proper answers to matters that arise such as this. It has got to the stage now where one of the leaders of the country, the Táiniste, Micheál McDowell, talks of deals being done or not done as to whether what the Taoiseach says today will allow the Government to stay in power or not. I fully agree with the editorial in the Irish Independent today which says :

“The standard of ethics observed by the Taoiseach and by ministers should not be subject to political deals aimed at the survival of a coalition … p.22 Irish Independent, 3/10/06.”

So are we to take from this then that if the Taoiseach doesn’t apologise and say he did anything wrong, that he actually didn’t do anything wrong and it’s OK for politicians to take those brown envelopes that have become infamous over the past decades. I mean, for f*ck sake, come on ! They are trying to save their own bacon right in front of our faces and we’re letting them. According to the latest opinion polls the results found were stunningly Irish in their ascertations. Tonnes of people think he was wrong to have taken the money but still think he shouldn’t resign … do we really give a shit that we’re being laughed at by these politicians ? Obviously not …

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1. Gerry O'Sullivan - October 4, 2006

One of the big sticking points, which FG/Lab raised and should have hammered home more effectively, was that Ahern was not in Manchester in a personal capacity, as he insists he was. If he hadn’t been Bertie Ahern T.D., Irish Minister for Finance, but instead was just plain old Bertie Ahern, Drinker of Pints of Bass in Fagan’s of Drumcondra, he would not have been asked to address the meeting. Just because he didn’t use State funds to pay for his trip doesn’t mean he wasn’t there in an official capacity.

2. cp1302ger - October 4, 2006

you’re right gerry – and upon reading the statements he made yesterday in the dail, he only really apologised for the consternation his taking of the filled brown envelope caused, not for taking it in the first place.

3. martin o' kelly - October 9, 2006

Are there no laws in this country concerning moneylending? Where these outstanding loans +interest declared to the taxman by the moneylenders at the time.By refusing to redeem the loans when offered the borrower (Bertie) was forced to repay exponentially increasing compound interest this must be illegal?

4. Irish collusion in rendition flights « The Rambling Man - November 30, 2006

[…] People the world over must be pissing themselves with laughter at our politicians who have their hands in pies on both sides of this argument – after all they can do no wrong, have never done wrong and will walk the next election.  Sure all it took was a few backhanders in a Manchester hotel for Bertie to become the most popular Taoiseach ever – Jaysis iddn’t it a great little country hah ? […]

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