A 'friend to Ireland'?

IN what way exactly? I realise that international considerations, and the sensitivity of the current situation, requires statements from Taoiseachs, Prime Ministers, Presidents etc to be couched in the language of diplomacy.. but, while Irish President Mary McAleese deploys a relatively standard response, when exactly did Arafat become a friend to Ireland” as Bertie Ahern claims?

Debate his role in the Middle East all you want – whether he was an obstacle to resolution, or a figurehead that unified increasingly fractious elements in Palestine, or a major instigator of the continuing problems – but while various individuals here have taken to promoting their own view of that ongoing conflict, and their own favoured side, I’d be fascinated to hear what criteria Bertie used to arrive at that particular definition of a ‘friend to Ireland’.

Meanwhile the BBC has a report on the missing millions in funds that have been poured into the Palestinnian Authority, or rather siphoned into bank accounts in Arafats name. The report points out that “aid to the Palestinian Authority has been running at more than $1bn a year since 2000” and “In 2003, Forbes magazine estimated Mr Arafat was worth $300m”.

The report quotes Dr Gershon Baskin, director of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information, “Very few people have the actual facts” but suggests that “the delegation of senior Palestinian ministers that went to Paris will have made it their business to find out more.” and that “There has been speculation that the rift between Mrs Arafat and her husband’s colleagues may be partly to do with control of the accounts.”

According to an audit by a Palestinian Finance Minister, following pressure from the IMF and the EU, $900million of the aid they supplied, without taking into account other sources, is still missing.

  • Mark McGregor

    Do you think someone a Taoiseach calls a ‘personal friend’ is going to be an enemy?

  • Davros

    Do you think someone a Taoiseach calls a ‘personal friend’ is going to be an enemy?

    is that all there is to Ireland ? The Taoiseach ?

  • willowfield

    A ridiculous comment by Ahern.

  • Henry94

    I hope when you pass on yourselves nobody questions too closely the nice things we say about you.

  • peteb


    In the language of international diplomacy, in which such statements are framed, calling someone a “friend to Ireland” goes far beyond saying ‘nice things’.

    Perhaps you could offer an example of how that ‘friendship’ manifested itself? Or are you saying that chums of Bertie’s are to be automatically considered ‘friends’ to Ireland?

  • Butterknife

    He was a friend to Ireland in that he did not blow up any Irish planes or kill any Irish citizens.

  • ulsterman

    Sadly Arafat allowed corruption to go to his head. As with Adams and co, once a terrorist always a terrorist. He could have achieved a Palestinian State for his people but instead he opted for the impossible. Jerusalem will and could never be given up by any Israeli government.

    As with Adams and co he led his people to disaster. Hopefully a more moderate pragmatic leadership will emerge prepared to realistically vote for peace.

    It will no doubt be nauseating to see Arab leaders file past his coffin in admiration. These were the same extremely rich Arabs who have done nothing for the Palestinian people.

    His passing hopefully will lead to peace. He will not be missed. He like Adams and co has a lot of blood on his hands.

  • davidbrew

    he was obviously a friend to Ireland by cooperating with the PIRA terrorists who were set up and bankrolled by the FF government

  • willowfield

    I would hardly describe that as “friendship”, given the terrible misery and suffering that resulted from it.

    If that was his contribution, “Enemy of Ireland” would be more appropriate.