Let me be absolutely clear about this – In my opinion, Bertie Ahern, Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland is a corrupt politician. He signed books of blank cheques for the corrupt politician, Charlie Haughey. Haughey then spent this money, which belonged to the people of Ireland, for his own benefit.
As Minister for Finance in 1993/94 Ahern accepted €124,000 from friends and businessmen for his own benefit. He kept this fact secret until he was found out. He did not pay back the so called loans until yesterday. He has only repaid the monies because the scandal threatens to destroy his political career.
Everything else about this latest scandal in Irish public life is irrelevant. Everything else surrounding this scandal is a perfect example of how the Irish as a nation are simply unable to face the reality that they live in a corrupt state.
Today’s Liveline was a deeply, deeply depressing example of that denial. Labour party member and comedian Brendan O’Carroll made a very strong defence of the corrupt Ahern. His central (and depressing) point was that the acceptance of the money by Ahern was strictly a private matter. That Ahern, just like any other citizen, was entitled to financial help from his friends when he was in marital difficulties.
In other words, O’Carroll is ok with the idea of a senior politician secretly accepting huge amounts of money from friends and businessmen. We also have to assume (depressingly) that O’Carroll accepts that the corrupt politician Haughey was entitled to accept the millions he got from AIB, Ben Dunne and many others to help him sort out his personal financial problems – the fact that Haughey/Ahern was a TD, Minister or Prime Minister, is, apparently, irrelevant.
The always (in my opinion) depressing Nell Mccafferty droned on endlessly about feminism – also completely irrelevant to Ahern’s corruption. Most other callers, with the exception of one woman and an Englishman, demonstrated clearly that they have no understanding whatsoever of either what a corrupt act is or the fact that they actually live in a corrupt state.
Tomorrow, it is likely we will witness the final act in this latest scandal/farce when the Progressive Democrats extinguish their final scrap of political integrity in exchange for a few more months of power. It’s all so, so depressing.