Slugger O'Toole

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“But throughout, his government and party turned a blind eye…”

Fri 23 March 2012, 12:06pm

In the Irish Times the peerless Miriam Lord tackles Micheál Martin’s “swift and decisive” response to the Mahon Tribunal report.  From the Irish Times article

SPARE US your indignation, Micheál Martin. Button your disgust, Fianna Fáil. We don’t want to hear it. You had your chance and you chose to do nothing. So don’t pretend to be shocked now.

Just do us that much. We won’t buy it.

If the tribunal were to take another 15 years to deliver its findings, you’d still be sitting on your hands.

I sat through all of Bertie Ahern’s evidence. It was appalling.

Hilarious? Frequently. Pathetic? Often. Infuriating? Utterly. Embarrassing? Completely.

I didn’t believe it then and I don’t believe it now.

And, unlike the clever people entrusted by us to run the country at the time, I didn’t have to wait years for a tribunal of inquiry to tell me.

But did it matter? Well yes, it did, because this man, grinning in the witness box, was our taoiseach.

He wasn’t a corner-cutting property developer. He wasn’t a millionaire builder, doing what you have to do to close a deal. He wasn’t an amoral middle-man or a small-time councillor on the make.

Bertie Ahern was the prime minister of our country, holder of the highest office in the land.

That’s supposed to mean something.

And he was lying through his teeth. Anybody with half an ounce of wit could see it.

Reporters detailed his ridiculous explanations for the huge amounts of money washing through his myriad accounts, and resting in his office safes. The most cursory of examinations of the daily transcripts would have shown up his risible stories for the twaddle that they were.

But throughout, his government and party turned a blind eye; squirmed and twisted and gave every manner of excuse to avoid the blindingly obvious taking place in full public view in a State-established inquiry.

Indeed.  Like so many others, Bertie was just a notorious gambler, with unaccounted-for large sums of money, and occasional wins on the horses…

Read the whole thing.

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Comments (21)

  1. Nevin (profile) says:

    “The actions of people who subverted the planning process ..” .. Miriam Lord

    And where was the ‘peerless’ MSM when all these shenanigans were taking place – not to mention the other political parties? Much of the information was probably in the public domain – either in official documents or on the Grapevine. Even the new media is making a relatively poor fist of improving governance, partly because it still requires the MSM to bring the stories to a wider audience.

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  2. Greenflag (profile) says:

    ‘Bertie Ahern was the prime minister of our country, holder of the highest office in the land.

    That’s supposed to mean something.’

    Used to mean something. Now it means that he/she along with their British or American equivalents are ‘puppets ‘or ‘muppets’ for the international banksters who tell them what to say, when to say it, and what not to say , and who cut them in on a slice of the pie when they have been ‘ousted’ from office.

    ‘And he was lying through his teeth.’

    That has’nt changed. He’s still spinning .

    ‘Anybody with half an ounce of wit could see it.’

    Half an ounce ? I’d have said a milligram .But then the Law is the Law and where there’s law there is injustice (Thrasymachus 3rd century BC Greece ) , and where there is no law there is even more injustice (Greenflag’s 21st century addendum ).

    Mr Martin is revealed as another naked emperor as are many of his FF colleagues . They should have the decency to disband the now very much discredited
    brand name and reinvent themselves .

    Mean while Bertie’s doing okay on the speech circuit teachingthe movers and shakers of undeveloped countries how they too can use brown paper envelopes and marquee tents at racecourses to emulate the Celtic Tiger economy at 1,000 euros a minute plus expenses .

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  3. HeinzGuderian (profile) says:

    Makes Berlusconi look positively statesmanlike.

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  4. tacapall (profile) says:

    Heinz no different to Tony Blair except Berti got buttons, no different than the expenses scandal at Westminister and no different than the actions of a certain Unionist politician who was also in the pockets of property developers.

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  5. Nevin (profile) says:

    tacapal, I have no evidence to suggest that developers limit their interest to one individual or to one party. The evidence in NALIL blog shows that developers have ‘pic n mix’ tastes.

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  6. tacapall (profile) says:

    No doubt Nevin but all politicians are in someones pocket and all would sell their grannies for money if someone would buy them.

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  7. Pete Baker (profile) says:

    Focus, gentlemen…

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  8. Alias (profile) says:

    The only firm conclusion to draw from the Mahon report is that judicial class have even less respect than the political class for the general taxpaying class. It took 15 years and circa a quarter of a billion of taxpayers’ money to produce this pile of inconclusive nothingness.

    We still don’t know where Bertie Ahern got his cash from and we still think that it is any of our business or that we have a right to confuse suspicion with evidence of wrongdoing and discard due process and the presumption of innocence.

    The purpose of Tribunals is not to establish the facts in a particular matter: it is to kick political issues down the road until the suspected culprit is out of harm’s way. The political class know this and the judicial class know this. They all play along. The only class that doesn’t know this is the taxpaying class.

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  9. PaulT (profile) says:

    “Focus, gentlemen…”

    I can’t I now have a mental image of a Drumcondra Bunga Bunga burning in my skull

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  10. sherdy (profile) says:

    Saw Pat Rabbitte being interviewed on the subject last night – his regret seemed to be that the politicians sold themselves so cheaply. He made the same point three times!

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  11. wild turkey (profile) says:

    “The political class know this and the judicial class know this. They all play along. The only class that doesn’t know this is the taxpaying class.”

    Alias, in a way I wish you are correct… but i suspect you are mistaken. might not the fundamental issue be that many members of the taxpaying class, given the opportunity, would emulate Berties behaviour? if yes, why would they HONESTLY condemn or censure it?

    if no, and the taxpaying class feels a genuine sense of outrage and betrayal, then what to do? what corrective action is available to them?

    the judicial and political classes have careers, are owners of property and holders of wealth, and they have social networks and families. they are by definition vulnerable.

    how best to define, map and exploit that vulnerability to the benefit of the greater good? i do not have concise and clear answers, so i ask.

    on a wider point

    Haughey…
    Reynolds….
    Ahern

    .. and these parvenus stylel themselves leaders of a republican party? a party which in turn is, or was, the party of the largest plurality.

    what, if any, legislation does ireland have on the books with respect to the guillotine…. i believe it is an obscure but effective parliamentary technique. qui?

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  12. Alias (profile) says:

    WT, how many is “many”? Most people are fundamentally honest and decent. Probably, at a guess, 5% are not. But would that 5% admire those who are stealing from them or abusing the trust they have placed in those others? Nope, because thieves don’t admire other thieves who steal from them. Their view is that ‘what’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is my own.’ Nobody admires a corrupt politician. They’re ranked somewhere above paedophiles and below murderers on the social scale.

    It’s true that the legal class pays tax on its income and probably doesn’t like paying it any more than the rest of us. But it isn’t true to say that, where a tribunal generates the source of the income (250 million) on which they must pay tax, that they would not like to generate that income because the payment of tax disincentives the generation of that income. That’s like arguing that no business wants to sell things because they have to pay corporation tax.

    It’s 250 million worth of taxpayers’ wealth poured into a golden trough, and the pigs are delighted to gorge on the largesse. They have a vested interest in prolonging the Tribunal because they longer they prolong it the more income they earn.

    The (contrarian) point I am making is that the public got shafted here. Not when Bertie decided he wasn’t going to open a bank account or hold cash that he could account for but when the political class collectively decided (the Dáil) to kick the issue of corrupt payments to its own class down the road until those against whom allegations were made had departed political office. A timeframe could have been imposed and greater powers could have been granted but these rather basic provisions to expeditious enquiry were deliberately not provided by the political class. There is also the consequence that Gardai investigation cannot now occur under EU law because of the delay.

    It’s bizarre that the political class would announce a Tribunal that would raise a doubt about that class in the public mind for long enough to do damage to the reputations of the democratic institutions of the State but these muppets do seem to have a self-destructive streak that seems to reside in questions about whether the State has any legitimacy or whether the nation has any right to govern itself in the first place. Most of these doubts appear in media organisations that have always taken their political slant from Whitehall.

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  13. wild turkey (profile) says:

    Alias
    “Most people are fundamentally honest and decent. Probably, at a guess, 5% are not.”

    The numbers and percentages I do not know. I do hope you are correct. My experience, and perspective; 30 ‘adult ‘(ho, ho) years in Ireland and 30 formative years in the USA ; may be quite dissimilar. hence our different viewpoints.
    induldge me as i attempt to substantiate my point about the corruption of the body politic.

    The speech of a rather old Ben Franklin to the Constitutional Convention

    “Mr. President:

    I confess that there are several parts of this constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them; for having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others.

    I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other. ”

    Benjamin Franklin 17 September 1787

    http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/benfranklin1787.htm

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  14. Henry94 (profile) says:

    Miriam Lord’s article is outstanding.

    Sherdy

    “Saw Pat Rabbitte being interviewed on the subject last night – his regret seemed to be that the politicians sold themselves so cheaply. He made the same point three times!”

    That struck me too and I wonder have we missed the big payments. I think the Revenue Commissioners need to pay particular attention to the people featured in the report.

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  15. HeinzGuderian (profile) says:

    ……….slightly different from the Mother of all Parliaments tac……..MP’s are actually serving time for their dishonesty.
    How much time will Bertie be spending behind bars ? ( a lot of time in front of them,no doubt) ;-)

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  16. Alias (profile) says:

    WT, it is usually those of a statist or lefist mindset who promote the view that people are irrideemably corrupt and therefore require the state to regulate their behaviour because they cannot be trusted to self-regulate it.

    It is a useful corrective to observe that the state itself is corrupt and can’t be trusted to self-regulate its behaviour, never mind regulate the behaviour of others.

    There is a hidden agenda within the Irish media to promote the view that the Irish are not fit to govern themselves. Oddly enough, those who so govern also promote this view as part of a euro-federalist agenda.

    I don’t have any answer here other than to restate my view that all political parties should be disbanded since they are all cartels that promote the interests of the members above the interests of those they bogusly claim to represent. That, of course, will never happen.

    How hard is it for the public to figure out that a political class that will squander hundreds of billions of their money simply to defer action of allegations of corruption is not a political class that is fit for purpose? How hard? It’s absolutely impossible, apparently.

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  17. Greenflag (profile) says:

    @ heinz -Ich habe schoen wieder keine Ahnung – Guderian

    ‘slightly different from the Mother of all Parliaments tac……..MP’s are actually serving time for their dishonesty.’

    42 members of the Dail /Westminster have been imprisoned since 1916 with 19 doing time for a range of offences since Henry Coyle of Cumann na NGael the precursor of Fine Gael was caught for ‘bouncing cheques ‘ back in 1924 .

    the full listing here

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_imprisoned_members_of_the_Oireachtas

    As for generalised political corruption and the peddling of influnence for money it’s not only the minor members of the British aristocracy that are seen to indulge in the ‘game ‘ . A Mr Cruddas has been in the news displaying how to win friends and influence David Cameron with just the right amount of ‘dosh ‘.

    Oh the ‘impropriety ‘ of it ;) LOL

    Feckin hypocrites and they know it !

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  18. Greenflag (profile) says:

    @ Alias,
    ‘ it is usually those of a statist or lefist mindset who promote the view that people are irrideemably corrupt and therefore require the state to regulate their behaviour because they cannot be trusted to self-regulate it.

    What planet are you living on ? Anybody with half an ounce of common sense knows that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely . Be that the absolute power of totalitarianism of the right or the left or a tyranny of the majority or any form of theocratic government . It also extends to the corporate and financial spheres as we have seen this past decade where ‘self regulation ‘ turned out to be the mantra for wholesale corruption , theft , fraud , international heists , sub prime gouging and worldwide economic recession.

    Just look at the history of the tobacco industry , the lead extraction industry and any number of imperial era ‘slave ‘ trading etc and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that without government intervention many of our ‘free market ‘ uber alles gung ho sociopaths would once again be employing 6 year old children to work in mines etc etc .

    This is not to infer that all capitalists are without ethics -they are not -many are a boon to societies everywhere -it’s just that when the going gets very tough then it’s the lowest common denominator who survives i.e the most ruthless .

    And if they (banksters ) are too big to fail then they need to be broken up by governments so as to ensure that they cannot disrupt entire societies and put hard won democratic rights in peril!

    .

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  19. Greenflag (profile) says:

    Omission above post at 9.42 pm -

    a link to Tory fund raising efforts of the crude Cruddas kind :(

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17507447

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  20. Alias (profile) says:

    GF, I was referring to citizens (as is rather obvious if you properly read what I wrote). As citizens do not have power, whether it corrupts or not is not relevant.

    Also, I don’t believe that power corrupts. If that was the case, all powerful people would be a criminal class. Some are corrupted by power but only those who lacked charecter and ethics and would be just as corrupt without power.

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  21. Greenflag (profile) says:

    @ Alias ,

    ‘I don’t believe that power corrupts. ‘

    Welcome to planet Earth -Alias from whatever ethical idyll you happen to live in ;)

    We’ll start with the flavour of the day and move down the endless list .

    Cruddas and Tories , Fianna Fail & Ahern , Flynn , Goldman Sachs , Bank of America , the RC Church , AIG , Enron , Citigroup, Anglo Irish , Mugabe , Stalin , Hitler , Franco , Mussolini, Marcos , Henry VIII, Richard 11 , Richard III , Moshe Katsav , Bernie Madoff , Allen Stanford ,
    General Pinochet , President Marcos , Suharto , Nixon , etc etc .

    and the list could continue for 1,000 page tome that might reach back to 1800 AD.

    BTW I did’nt state that ALL powerful people are necessarily corrupt . My wording was ‘power ‘corrupts .

    Absolute power whether in the hands of a State or a Corporation (a monopoly/oligopoly ) or a religion (a theistic state ) or a political party ( Communist , Nazi , Fascist etc ) will so corrupt that it eventually is consumed by it’s own pathological evil and always by the utter destruction of millions of lives by way of ‘collateral ‘ damage .

    Why is it that those who lack ‘character and ‘ethics’ seem to have clambered to the top of the political , religious and financial dung heaps in our financial services led economy ? Why was Tory fund gatherer selling ‘Cameron time’ at a 250,000 sterling a pop ? Said Cruddas was/is of course from the ‘international speculative currency ‘ background that the recent George Osborne budget was designed to assist for Cameron and his LD partners have put all their eggs in the international financial services basket which has delivered the last several years of worldwide economic and financial chaos :( So empty is the ‘policy bank’ of the Tories not that Labour are suffering from any surfeit of options either.

    The power of money simply put . Its why Romney will become the Republican candidate for the USA Presidential election and why Obama will defeat him in November .

    It’s also why this 71 year old ‘corrupt ‘ war criminal gets himself a new ‘heart ‘ while thousands of others younger and healthier and with better chances of survival will be allowed to ‘die ‘

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/03/26/149341006/cheney-operation-underscores-heart-transplant-issues

    ‘You never know this may be the first time where the heart rejects an incompatible body’.

    The Irish people are in the process of rejecting the Fianna Fail Madoffia just as they have rejected the Vatican .Where this will lead I don’t as yet know but this man is worth reading

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2012/0326/1224313893518.html?via=mr

    Meanwhile the vox populi may demand a fate worse than the guillotine for those who have lived high of the public trough .

    http://www.rte.ie/news/2012/0325/callearyd.html


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