Bertie Ahern

By | September 27, 2006

What a load of complete codswallop.

He does a carefully managed one-on-one interview with the ever polite Dobson who to be fair did ask the right questions but just very nicely. He did pull out a great quote from Bertie that politicians should not be under obligation to anyone! Wasn’t going to stand up in the Dail! Why didn’t he say what he had to say in the Dail?

EVERYONE who has had contact with the Tribunals has had to go through the same process. And as we all know the Tribunals leak like sieves (em, guilty here I know). Ever had a tax audit Bertie? My parents had one. My mother had to go through the account in our local shop and explain how she managed to feed a family on the food she was buying. The auditor didn’t believe she could run her kitchen on the food bought in the corner shop. And you weep because you have to explain where you got £38k in 1993?

The bottom line is that he received money from his friends, “loans” which were never repaid, to help him out with his personal finances. (Sound familiar? What’s the difference between this and Haughey except scale? He says its not the same. How exactly?) Now I don’t believe that Bertie Ahern is corrupt or that these were bribes or anything else. I’m still vague on the tax implications. But tough, welcome to Tribunal land. He got money and he has to explain it. Yes its embarrassing, yes its stressful. What do you think everyone else has been going through for years? Suddenly he’s the only victim of the Tribunals?

Marvellous media management. And its worked. RTE being flooded with outraged calls. I’m sorry for him personally, but I had a flash back to me crying in the bed when the Moriarty Tribunal told me that they’d call me to the witness stand a few days after my first baby was due to be born. And Denis O’Brien trying to get permission for a day off from the Tribunal because his wife had to get a Caesarian because their baby was in trouble. (And a lot of people casually assuming it was a lie). Bertie Ahern isn’t the first person to have his finances exposed. Tough shit.

Update: Listening to the radio and the journos are screeching about this being the biggest political crisis Bertie has faced and he is SO damaged etc etc. He’s not damaged. The performance last night was outstanding and the people will sympathise with him. In fact, if I was the opposition I could fairly easy today or they’ll be a backlash.

15 thoughts on “Bertie Ahern

  1. leon

    Maybe if your parents and the rest of the rural bourgeois had paid their taxes this country might have been a bit less fucked in the ’80s. But looking at Charlie and Bertie you can see a fish rots from the head.

    Mind you that Miriam O’Callaghan was talking about taxes on TV once and she seemed to believe that if individuals don’t agree with the tax system they should only pay what they like.

  2. petedg

    I don’t see what the fuss is about. We all knew Charlie was massively corrupt, and I can’t imagine that he would have allowed anyone into his inner circle who wasn’t also corrupt, it would be like a mafia boss surrounding himself with people who wouldn’t break the law. So all the leading people from that era must be assumed to be, or to have been, corrupt. It was a culture that permeated the whole country (I remember my Dad, who is the world’s straightest person, handing over brown envelopes to get the phone connected etc.). To now act all shocked about it is hypocritical. It would be much more useful to investigate how corrupt Ireland is today.

  3. Sarah Post author

    my mother’s been on with more tit-bits on their tax audit. There was one huge row because there was a cheque made out for the purchase of a telly and “Sally” written in brackets. The auditor decided he’d finally found evidence of a casual employee being paid BIK gifts. “Sally” was my granny (now deceased). Huge row to convince him of that one.
    An aunt, during her audit, got into another mess because “car service” was in the cheque book twice in one week. It’d had had to go back to the garage for a spare part. But could she prove it? Another row.
    My mother says the one line which kept being repeated was “Where is that reflected in your accounts Mrs Carey?” Where was Bertie’s contention that the money was a loan reflected in his accounts? Will he be audited now?

  4. Daniel K.

    I’ve been wondering afterwards about Bertie’s comment about buying his house later for 200K, when he went for the mortgage did he let the bank know about this sizeable ‘loan’, did he outline his repayment schedule or did he fail to mention it as it was really a gift not a loan? And if he didn’t mention it why isn’t the bank investigating his application?

    And was it just me or did it sound like Seamus Brennan on the Week in Politics sound like he was saying ‘this all happened before we had ethics’?

  5. petedg

    Sarah, your family most have really upset someone (or be very rich) to get tax audited. My brother-in-law is an insolvency consultant in the UK, and tells me that over there the tax inspectors only do an audit if they’re confident that it will recover more than the cost of the audit, in practice this means any less than 100,000 is not worth pursuing.

  6. Daniel K.

    petedg, you have heard about 1916, 1922, the treay, the 1937 constitution and the declaration of the republic in 1949 and so on?

    As for tax law, they used to allow IT contractors pay themselves by dividend to be taxed at 10% up to few years ago.

    Auditing is semi random here.

  7. petedg

    Ok, so they operate differently here. Sorry.

    The dividend thing was great, I did it for 3 years. Now I hear that IT Contractors in the UK like to operate through an Irish company to avoid the employment-disguised-as-contracting clampdown and pay less corporation tax.

  8. Crataegus-mon

    In business when you are dealing with a corrupt official you know what to expect and your view of that person is greatly tarnished.

    In politics is the practice of loans and dodgy party finance so widespread that when they meet such a track record does not lessen their views of each other? Is it power for the course?

    If I am obliged to someone I am compromised and if I were to receive a strange payment then that person has a hold on me for life. He can reveal that payment at any time or when I am dealing with matters that involve him is my judgement influenced, an I impartial?

    Most of us go to Banks when we want a loan is it unreasonable to expect our politicians to do the same.

  9. ABFF

    The no tax Taoiseach.
    Look at how the entire saga unfolded. In the republic he received a loan because it meant no tax needed to be paid. In the UK it was a gift with no tax implications there either. At this time he was the minister of Finance.His daughter married in France (while he was taoiseach) for tax purposes to a member of a boy band I think. His other daughter pays no taxes because she is an author.
    This family just don’t like paying taxes period. Taxes are only for the small people.Yet who introduced all the stealth taxes which we now pay. Which government GAVE away our gas reserves to shellm, Corrib fields. Who continues to give away our road infrastructure to their cronies to collect tolls. The FF tent at the Galway races is not the place to be for no reaon. I believe it is known as “The Inn of the Seventh Happiness” among property developers.
    As we continue to pay exorbitant road tax and excise on our cars and fuel. Roll on the general election bye bye FF and their lap dogs the PDs.

  10. Mike

    ‘It is quite unacceptable that a member of Dáil Éireann and in particular a Cabinet Minister and Taoiseach, should be supported in his personal lifestyle by gifts made to him personally.'(Bertie – Dáil Éireann transcript, December 1996)

  11. The Crewser

    What a shower of bleedin begrudgers and bad losers. Straight back to the negative stuff again which was roundly rejected by the electorate last week.

  12. shane

    I believe the basic points of being a representative of a nation, is that you should portray how that nation is. The fact that his finances are being brought into question, brings us into question. Everything he does, represents us. Personal loans to help with his separation, personal donataions which turn out to be political. Old friends whom have donated stating they were never close. Hmmm, are we so foolish to beive this very bogus tripe??? I also believe him to be a great leader but I loose faith

  13. V

    The ‘begrudgery’ defence is getting great mileage but it’s running out of steam. If you start on a high note there’s nowhere to go but down Crewser.

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