As the ‘Bertie’ documentary continues we see more and more parallels between the corrupt Haughey and the chancer Ahern.
When Ahern came to power he immediately put his personal fundraiser, Des Richardson in charge of Fianna Fail finances. The corrupt Des Traynor did the same job for Haughey. Some very dodgy activities occurred during both regimes.
When Haughey was in financial trouble Traynor approached five or six businessmen for a dig out. On last night’s documentary we heard from one Ahern supporter how Des Richardson approached six or seven businessmen to give Bertie a dig out.
When Haughey became Taoiseach he called in the corrupt banker and property speculator Patrick Gallagher to beg for money. Disgracefully, this actually happened in the Taoiseach’s office. Gallagher was only 26 at the time.
On last night’s documentary we heard how a 25 year old builder, with no connection to Ahern whatsoever, contributed £5,000 to one of the dig outs. When the builder was asked about his motives he said:
“It doesn’t do any harm to be publicly known as a friend of Bertie Ahern. This guy has helped the country, helped us become the nation we are.”
And Ahern has indeed made a major contribution to the kind of country Ireland has become. Unfortunately, millions of Irish citizens have and will continue to suffer well into the future as a consequence of his contribution.