Reynolds in the Bahamas

By | November 28, 2007

Ok, this is just so funny. I turned back on the News At One hoping Bev was gone, to hear the report on proceedings at the Mahon Tribunal. So previously Tom Gilmartin gave evidence that rival developer Owen O’Callaghan told him he gave Mr Reynolds £150,000 in his house at around 3am after a dinner in Cork in March 1994. He said he was told Mr Reynolds was tired because he had to picked up by helicopter the next morning to be brought to the US for St Patrick’s Day. He was told by other sources that Mr Reynolds collected $1m in New York, Boston and Chicago that year following the Northern Ireland peace deal. But he was told only $70,000 made it to the party and that “$900,000 must have fallen off the plane and floated down towards the Cayman Islands”

Now when I heard that I thought, ah yeah, Gilmartin spinning ludricous tales again..

But TODAY! TODAY!

the pilot of the government jet gave evidence that

“Later that day Mr Reynolds, his wife and a number of civil servants were flown by Government jet to New York, the plane stopped over in Boston before picking up the party and flying them to Washington and Chicago.

On the return journey there was an unscheduled six-hour stop at Freetown* in the Bahamas at the request of Mr Reynolds. Mr James said no reason was recorded for the stop over.

I laughed out loud, which when you’re on your own in the kitchen is a weird thing to do.

I dunno, every time I soften up and assume there’s nothing in it, they drop something else on you. It’s bizarre.

Update: oh rats, Martin Mansergh, official apologist for three FF Taoisigh has spoiled all the fun by intervening with the facts. In a statement just issued

“Some of the evidence given to the Mahon Tribunal today by the distinguished Head of the Air Corps Brigadier General James (if accurately reported on the RTÉ lunchtime news) must be based on faulty recollection. Even a senior officer of the Air Corps would not necessarily always be aware of the detailed purposes of an official visit or discussions that took place during one.

I was a member of the Taoiseach’s delegation to the United States, as a Special Advisor on Northern Ireland. At the end of the visit on 19 March, which included functions in a number of cities as well as St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Washington, the Taoiseach flew from Hartford, Connecticut to the Bahamas for the first official visit from Ireland, which was neither ‘informal’ nor ‘unscheduled’, and which lasted three days from Saturday till Monday inclusive.

He was greeted with full military honours, including a multi-gun army salute, by the Prime Minister of the Bahamas at the airport. Later that Saturday afternoon, officials from both Governments, including myself, sat down to explore a number of areas of cooperation. That evening, Tony O’Reilly, Chairman of Independent Newspapers, hosted a dinner for Albert Reynolds and his delegation, which was attended by half the cabinet of the Bahamas, at his home at Lyford Quay.

On Monday 21 March 1994, there were resumed talks chaired by Taoiseach and Prime Minister, and a number of visits made to small enterprises and to the principal harbour on another island in the Bahamas. The whole emphasis of the visit was on economic development and mutual cooperation. The visit was referred to in the press at the time. For example, an article in the Cork Examiner of 21 March 1994 by Liam O’Neill reported:

‘Taoiseach Albert Reynolds left the United States on Saturday for the Bahamas after a very successful seven-day visit, the highlight of which was a White House meeting with President Clinton on St. Patrick’s Day. He will spend three days in the Bahamas on an official visit before returning to Dublin on Tuesday. His last engagement in the United States was at the John F. Kennedy Trust dinner in Hartford, Connecticut, on Friday night.’ ”

Though you have to wonder, what mutual benefit is there in economic development in the Bahamas? and the cosiness of dinners with Tony. Let’s get a report on the matters that required co-operation. Of course, with that heavy schedule I’m SURE Albert had no time to nip to the bank…..Grumble grumble….

*yes, a misreport, that should’ve been Freeport.

Further update! HOLD PRESS – Apparently Manzer has been vague….Mr Reynolds was indeed met with full military honours but NOT in Freeport where the 6 hour stopover took place. So they went to Freeport, and took off again and landed somewhere else officially – perhaps Nassau, the capital???

Wonderful. Could be something in this yet.

MORE UPDATES! Nothing daunted – your intrepid investigative blogger phoned the office of the Deputy from Tipperary (south?) Fair dues, the man phoned back. My specific question was : did the plane touch down in Freeport first and then go on to Nassau for the official welcome? He was extremely charming and went into great detail but the bottom line – he couldn’t say specifically. They did go to different islands so there was some flying around but he couldn’t say precisely. He was also careful to say that he based his statement on the report he heard on the News at One – not on what the pilot’s actual evidence was. So, our bottom line? We need to see the Tribunal transcript and the flight plan. The pilot could still be absolutely correct. The plane may have been scheduled to go to Nassau but they diverted to Freeport first.

And finally!
Yes, the 9pm confirms it…the scheduled flight was to Nassau but there was an unscheduled stop at Freeport….Great stuff. What WAS he doing there?

13 thoughts on “Reynolds in the Bahamas

  1. Paul Newton

    It seems everyone gets deconstructed in the end, you’re decision not to run for office seems smarter day by day.

    Is it not nearing time to agree that Irish Politics up to now has been corrupt, and introduce some form of “political amnesty” for those who no longer serve.

    If they disclose in private and make some form of restitution can we not leave them be and desist from using them to smear current politicians and parties.

    Corruption in irish politics (and business) in the 60’s 70’s 90’s and most of the 90’s was as ubiquitous as drugs in sport. Yet for every Charles J and Ben Johnston there were countless others who were either not as greedy or just didn’t get caught.

    The drugs problem has been tackled by introducing contemporary measures which make it extremely difficult to mask, politics should do similar and leave the disclosures to the historians.

    Human greed will always be with us. The right thing to do is ensure every measure possible is in place to prevent it.

  2. The Bad Ambassador

    That’s how it would work in an ideal world.

    Ireland isn’t an ideal world however and Irish people have too much of an affinity with the “cute hoor” for politicians to ever worry about the consequences of their corrupt dealings becoming public.

    All you need to do is look at the number of disgraced politicians (Lowry, Cooper-Flynn et al) who have had no trouble being re-elected. Wasn;t Parnell advised “resign, retire, return”?

    I could not begin to tell you how many of my friends vote the way their parents (and their parents before them) have always voted – regardless of what/how much the candidate did in the 5 years since the last election.

    It shouldn’t be sufficient that a political candidate is “nice” or “likeable” – they should be sincere, hard-working and conscionable.

  3. The Crewser

    As always it turns out that this is another cock and bull story. But good for a belly laugh for the ne’r do wells and other apologists for that type of thing.

  4. P O'Neill

    There is confusion between Freetown and Freeport. They are both towns in the Bahamas. But Albert made the unscheduled stop in the latter. Freeport is not on the same island as Nassau so he would have needed the plane to get there.

  5. Dan Sullivan

    Mansergh appears to be stepping up to be the new Willie O’Dea willing to take any bullet for the government. And shouldn’t Martin really have waited to read the tribunal transcript before responding as all FFers were urging us all to do only weeks ago?

  6. The Crewser

    Anti Ff’s dont even recognise when a story is not a story. They would be better off applauding Albert for his wonderful contribution to bringing peace to this island.

  7. The Bad Ambassador

    Crewser, I’m not entirely sure the ancient greeks intended democracy to work on a weighing-scales basis. The notion that one good deed excuses a bad one is childish at best.

    In the same way that a rapist should not be pardoned because he helps grannies across the road, the fact that somebody played a part in bringing some form of peace to the north or that they maybe introduced free public transport for OAPs does not cancel out their misdeeds/corruption.

    What’s next? Exchanges of “My dad’s bigger than your dad” or “Yeah… well he started it” across the Dail chamber? (Of course if this ever happened the Ceann Comhairle would have to take the motherly roll – he would grab Bertie and Inda by the wrist and shout “right you sit in that chair, and you sit on the couch over there and not another word about this or I’ll ground you both for a month”)

    By the way, Reynolds didn’t bring peace single handedly – others were involved too. Its not like Reynolds was skipping through the 6 counties with long unkempt hair, dressed in thai dyed trouser, putting daisys down the barrels of the weapons carried by paramilitaries and the English defence forces.

  8. The Crewser

    I never suggested that anybody brought peace single handedly at any stage.

  9. The Crewser

    The libel laws in this country really do need some attention to ensure that those making and adding to false and malicious allegations in the media are brought to account. It was good to see that the Ukranian interpreter who was described as a “prositute” by the Indo and other media organs was given proper compensation. The family of the deceased were unfortunately given no compensation. This was clearly wrong and new rules are required.

  10. Niall

    “By the way, Reynolds didn’t bring peace single handedly – others were involved too. Its not like Reynolds was skipping through the 6 counties with long unkempt hair, dressed in thai dyed trouser, putting daisys down the barrels of the weapons carried by paramilitaries and the English defence forces.”

    What an image!

  11. The Crewser

    Did I ever state anywhere that anybody single handedly brought peace to this Island. Read before you write Niall.

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