Last minute contacts as Bertie prepares to answer questions

As other interested parties emerge to proffer excuses, and last minutes contacts between parties are reported [that’s cutting it fine – Ed], Taioseach Bertie Ahern will be attempting to answer those questions, and any others, in the Dáil today at 4.15pm – Live online here Adds With questions over, excerpts from Bertie’s apologia [on for the bewilderment – Ed], and more coverage here and here. More belowIt’s worth looking very closely at the lines that are being promoted as the apology.. in what is, in fact, an apologia

It was a misjudgement although not in breach of any law or code of conduct at the time. It was not illegal or impermissible to have done what I did. But I now regret the choices I made in those difficult and dark times.

The bewilderment caused to the public about recent revelations has been deeply upsetting for me and others near and dear to me. To them and to the Irish people, I offer my apologies.

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  • parcifal

    pete, they seem a lazy lot, its 3:41, I’m logged in, and there’s 3 TD’s in the chamber, and the questions are really important about immigration, prisons, and difficulties with psychiatric patients being returned to prisons.
    Is this normal? Are they all in the Bar?
    Shocking!

  • bootman

    Parcifal,

    Its is question time for the Minister for Justice hence the topics

  • Hurler on the Ditch

    Just finished hearing speeches from Bertie, Enda and Pat. The critical one is yet to come and that is McDowells reaction. My feeling is he may walk. If not they are seriously damaged due to the lack of any clear apology from Bertie. Instead he seems to have apologised for “the bewilderment caused” by the controversy.

  • J McConnell

    Bertie gives a classic FF “I’m sorry I got caught” apology. Kenny gives a surprising effective “you’re as guilty as hell” speech which made some pretty good hits. Rabbit backed up and elaborated very effectively on some of Kennys points, and the Greeens, Shinners et al droned on with typical witless abandon.

    Meanwhile Bertie and McDowell squirm in intense discomfort while all this is going on.

    Now that McDowell has folded I expect Bertie to try and brazen it out. After all, he has the measure of the typical FF voter, me feiners one and all, and they wont be turned off by a few brown envelopes passing in the night.

  • I thought Sargent and Higgins were pretty good as well. There was more heat than light in O Caoláin’s speech, but that was probably deliberate. SF don’t want the Governemnt to fall ahead of Nov 24, and they certainly don’t want Enda Kenny as the next Taoiseach.

  • fmk

    pat rabbid’s was the performance of the day. i love all the little bits – like the nixer jibe and the accusation that bertie had trousered the money. top spots though got to the father ted “the money was just resting there” and the “an bhfuil cead agam dul amach go dti an leathras?” jibes.

    and – more to the point – where all the others seemed to wander off topic, rabbid kept to the point, kept pressing questions directly relating to the issue. you could even see this in bertie’s responses, he kept having to come back to rabbid’s points, while he mostly ignored the others.

  • Greenflag

    Battered and bruised Bertie may be but he’ll survive . McDowell was targeted as the weakest link but did not rise to the bait .

    And now on to the improving prospects for Bertie’s next Budget 🙂

    The public finances are continuing to strengthen according to the third quarter exchequer returns from the Department of Finance.

    They show that in the year to the end of September, the Government took in €1.8 billion more in taxes than expected.

    70% of the extra taxes came as a result of the continued strength in the housing market, as well as a greater than expected tax yield from the business sector.

  • I see Enda Kenny has called for Bertie Ahern to resign.

  • Captain Renault

    I am shocked, shocked, that the opposition are calling for the government to resign.

  • You call that an apology??…… now THIS is an apology.

    On the wilde side, McDowell is getting the damndest resemblance to Karl Rove. You don’t think it’s the Dorian Grey thing again, do you?

  • Holt

    The lack of any detail concerning Ahern’s ‘savings’ of £50,000, e.g. no bank account etc. makes the O’Callaghan /Starry O’Brien stories more credible

  • Instead of rating the speakers’ performances, and what might happen to ‘Dirty Bertie’, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to consider who these Manchester businessmen – like John Kennedy, Tim Kilroe, Tony Kett, Michéal Wall et al. – are, and why they would be so eager to hand over the cash so readily to the former Finance Minister?

    The last time I recall something like this happening in Manchester was when John Stalker was charged with being in bed with similar guys aka Quality Street Gang, thanks to his innocent connections to Kevin Taylor, and we all remember what happened to his investigation of the 1982 shoot-to-kill murders in Northern Ireland.

    Is Ahern now being blackmailed to go along with whatever London and Belfast demand about everything from British collusion in sectarian murders to implementation of the GFA because of such careless ways in collecting other peoples’ money, ones who used to be involved in running arms for the IRA?

  • Nevin

    Might the price have been ‘discounted’?

  • According to RTÉ, Bertie’s home in Drumcondra, purchased from Michéal Wall in 1997, and now said to be worth 1.2 million euros, may have only cost £67,000, not the market vaule of £200,000. Wall, hardly surprisingly, was the guy that Ahern did not recall at the Manchester dinner until he was reminded apparently because he also supplied £10,000 for the downpayment.

    Some discount!

    But why, and for what? And why has the old bit of corruption only come out now? And who was the leaker?

  • Nevin

    THF, I wonder how many politicians in the Black North are in possession of a property they ‘bought’ from a developer friend? 😉

  • If Joe Fenton is any guide for how it’s done, Nevin, the answer must be plenty.

    Ed Moloney wrote this about his activities as an alleged British tout in the PIRA Council: “Through his estate agency he was getting homes for people and arranging fraudulent mortgages, helping people to defraud Building Societies by manufacturing income statements for people who were registered as unemployed. The (Special) Branch would have had a field day blackmailing his clients into becoming informers.” (p. 29)

    Perhaps, it was such experience that made Michaél Wall so effective when it came to, it seems, blackmailing Bertie.