Friday, March 21, 2008


Taoiseach's story coming undone

I'm pleased to see that the Mahon Tribunal is making great strides in uncovering Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's rotten financial web of deceit.

The Taoiseach's former secretary, Grainne Carruth, broke down in the witness box as she admitted to lodging more than stg£15,000 into accounts held by Mr Ahern and his daughters, Georgina and Cecelia, in the 1990s.

The Irish Independent reports that:

"Mr Ahern's lawyers said they would need more time to explain the apparent contradictions between Mr Ahern's earlier evidence and the tribunal's latest discoveries."

Wow. Utterly pathetic.

The Taoiseach has repeatedly denied receiving a series of sterling payments, however tribunal discoveries have progressively isolated numbers of large conversions of the British currency. Our joke of a Prime Minister had previously insisted that all lodgements in the accounts were from his salary and in Irish currency. Whoopsie!

Ms Carruth had previously denied ever making cash lodgements for Mr Ahern, or dealing in foreign currency for him. Yesterday, she stuck to her story, until agreeing that it was "virtually certain" the lodgements she made were linked to sterling.

The payments were made into accounts held by Mr Ahern and each of his daughters, Georgina and Cecelia. The lodgement slips were partially filled out by Ms Carruth, and signed by her. Ms Carruth, a secretary to Mr Ahern for 12 years at his St Luke's constituency office, had previously asserted that it was only she who ever made lodgements to Mr Ahern's daughters' accounts.

According to the Independent:

"She was unable to explain why those lodgements should be the proceeds of sterling conversions.

"At one point yesterday, Judge Gerald Keys told Ms Carruth's solicitor, Hugh Millar BL, following an interruption: "Mr Millar, all we want is the truth. That is what we are looking for."

"Presiding judge Alan Mahon told Ms Carruth that she should look at the building society documentation overnight and talk to her solicitor, "so that you will be quite clear in your mind as to your position in relation to your evidence".

"Earlier, Blair Hughes, manager of the building society, said he recalled Ms Carruth making sterling conversions and subsequent lodgements at his branch.

"He also said that he always understood the mysterious B/T account -- also the recipient of sterling - was a "Bertie and Tim" account." (Tim Collins is a Dublin businessman who has repeatedly denied being the joint holder of the 'BT account' from which Celia Larkin was loaned £30,000 from a special Fianna Fáil fundraising account so she could buy a house)

Deary me. It's all so sordid isn't it? Let's be blunt about this - it's high time Ahern stepped down from his position. He is dragging the office of the Taoiseach through the mud. I didn't think it could get any worse after the Haughey years but I was mistaken. Let the Taoiseach sort out this unholy mess on his own time. It's an absolute disgrace that the people of this country have to put up with a Prime Minister that's up to his neck in corruption.

Labour's Finance spokesperson Joan Burton has said it's in the best interests of the country for Bertie Ahern to resign. Damn right. Can you imagine this kind of thing happening across the water in Britain? Can you imagine the British public putting up with this crap from Gordon Brown? Of course not. They know how to handle crooks over there. Honestly, de Valera must be turning in his grave. What has become of Fianna Fáil?

It's not often I quote Oliver Cromwell, but one of his most oft-quoted lines accurately reflects my feelings on Ahern's situation right now...

"You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately ... Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!"

Indeed. Mr Ahern, salvage some dignity for yourself and your once-great party and move on before you both drown in a sea of shame and sleaze.



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