According to the RTÉ report, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has said “he regrets signing blank cheques that were used by the late Charles Haughey to misuse public funds.” but that it was “common practice at the time”.. However, the tribunal’s view was
This was a practise which has to be viewed as both inappropriate and imprudent, having regard to the nature of the account (being one used to administer funds provided from the public purse), the skills and experience then possessed by Mr. Ahern, and the absence of any internal or external audit of the account.
Additionally, the Irish Times picks out a particular exchange during the Tribunal’s questioning of Charles Haughey[subs req]
Tribunal counsel John Coughlan SC put it to Mr Haughey: “I think we can take it as a given that it would be inappropriate for a taoiseach to be beholden to anybody financially, would you agree with that?”
Mr Haughey: “Yes.”
Mr Coughlan: “I am talking in its broadest context, it would be inappropriate for a taoiseach to be beholden financially to anybody, would you agree?”
Mr Haughey: “Well, it all depends on beholden, the meaning of the word beholden.
“I would think that it would be valid for individuals or institutions to support a political person because they believed in him or her or what they were doing, for absolutely totally disinvolved motives.”
Asked if he meant to support the living expenses of a taoiseach, Mr Haughey responded: “No, to alleviate the financial difficulties of a particular politician. I am quite sure in modern history it’s happened time and time again. I am thinking of the sort of situation where a group of friends would come together and out of purely altruistic motives, assist a particular politician in a particular spot of difficulty.”
Funnily enough, just that sort of situation has been highlighted here recently..