Sometimes, the sheer level of corruption is this country can be a bit depressing. So, to provide a little light relief here’s a brilliant fairy tale as related by journalist Sam Smyth on the Marian Fincuane Show (15th September). My comments are in brackets.
In the early 1990s Bertie Ahern was going through a horrendous marriage breakup. He was cashing his cheques in the local pub and making maintenance payments and all the rest. He was sleeping on a camp bed above the office in Drumcondra. His wife’s family, his own family, even his own mother was deeply angry at him.
(What did Bertie do to generate all this anger?)
(Things were really looking bad for one of the best paid men in the country. Ahern, as Finance Minister, was earning about £80,000 per annum. Banks and building societies would have trampled over each other to give him any amount he wanted. Any citizen on his wage at that time could easily have afforded a substantial mortgage/property).
Smyth goes on:
Then Albert Reynolds got into trouble and it looked like his government was going to collapse. (It looked like our hero Bertie was about to become Taoiseach)
Bertie’s friends were saying, You have to have a house Bertie, you can’t be Taoiseach with no fixed address and so because it’s so easy for a Minister for Finance to raise funds by hosting (awful) dinners, every accountant and business in the country will gladly pay two, three, four grand for a table. I think this is how a lot of money was raised, probably in the name of Bertie’s O’Donovan Rossa Cumainn.
(Cleary, Sam Smyth is a citizen/journalist who sees nothing wrong with a serving Minister for Finance prostituting his office to raise funds for his local Cumainn or even to raise a couple of bob for himself)
(Marian Fincuane asked, isn’t that money supposed to go to the party? Smyth conceded that it probably was but immediately slipped into Fianna Fail speak and justified the possibility that Bertie might be stealing party funds by citing all the great things he (Bertie) had done for Drumcondra – Remember, in fairy tales all explanations are acceptable).
Anyway, Sam continues:
Bertie’s friends said ‘how can we buy this house, there’s the whole marriage thing, this could really open up things again in the family courts, people will ask, where did Bertie get the money to buy that and all the rest, these things happen in family law cases.’
So, it may well have been decided that he needed somebody to buy the house in trust. Therefore, his name is not on the deeds which would suggest that if you buy a house in trust for somebody you also have to leave it to them in the will in case you die and it goes on to your next of kin, so that’s what I think happened there.
Sometime later, relations with Miriam, (Bertie’s ex wife) and his own family warmed. He got a mortgage and took over the house.
(Ahhh, a truly happy ending to a great story but wait what does this say about the character of our hero Bertie? If Smyth’s theory is true then the much praised/compassionate/tearful Bertie is nothing more than a scheming chancer who wanted to do his ex wife out of her just desserts.
In other words, Bertie is actually a baddie. Anyway, nobody would ever have known this if the big bad wolf, in the guise of Tom Gilmartin, hadn’t appeared on the scene).
(Here Smyth, in an angry and outraged tone, described the outrageous allegations made by the evil Gilmartin against poor Bertie. And while Sam clearly doesn’t believe a word of what Gilmartin says he does concede that the allegations led (the Tribunal) onto the trail).
Somebody then came up with a ‘dog ate my homework’ excuse. They had to explain the difference between gifts and loans; there were tax implications.
The problem now is that poor Bertie cannot give the ‘simple’ story. He’s more likely to be done at the end of the day for the cover up than he ever would be for the money.
So, according to Smyth, Bertie’s story is simple. When he was holding down one of the most powerful and best paid jobs in the country he was unable to deal with the financial implications of a marriage breakdown in the same way that countless thousands of ‘ordinary’ citizens have done.
Instead of being honest with his wife and children he conspired with friends to weave a web of lies and deceit in order to keep as much money as possible for himself.
Part of this conspiracy included the prostitution of the office of Minister for Finance and the diversion of money properly belonging to Fianna Fail into Bertie’s own account. (I’m getting Haughey flashbacks here).
Tune in next week to hear another amazing story from a guy called Occam who alleges that Bertie actually took bribes. With razor sharp logic he claims that;
“All things being equal, the simplest solution tends to be the right one,”