I have often wondered at the relationship between Bertie Ahern and Frank Dunlop. It is a relationship Ahern rarely if ever mentions. But it is one that was more or less constant in the early 1990s. Ahern has always said he never received “even a drink of water” from Owen O’Callaghan.
But O’Callaghan rarely gave money himself (except that 100k cheque to FF via Des Richardson, and other amounts to some councillors). Usually Dunlop did the money-giving. And in the early 90s, Dunlop was meeting Ahern very regularly.
Today’s evidence surrounding Ahern, Chilton O’Connor (O’Callaghan’s bankers and Liam Lawlor’s son was an employee), Dunlop and O’Callaghan makes for very interesting reading. One of my favourite bits was the meeting in November 1994 between Ahern, O’Callaghan and Bill O’Connor about the proposed stadium at Neilstown.
Ahern told O’Callaghan “he was wasting his time”. (Q539) O’Callaghan asked him why that was. “He said that for a start our location was on the wrong side of the Liffey.” This was despite Ahern’s meeting in LA earlier that year with Chilton O’Connor, which apparently occurred without the knowledge of O’Callaghan.
Of course, this is O’Callaghan’s version of the meeting. Ahern claims that it was far less important. A letter later sent by Bill O’Connor to Ahern was in a positive light, and did not show any disappointment that Ahern had dismissed it out of hand.