“both inappropriate and imprudent”

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..

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  • HermonieG

    Why hasn’t Bertie resigned? Not only did he sign blank cheques for the Boss thus facilitating the misuse of the leader’s account by Haughey, he has also replicated some of Haughey’s activities –

    Bertie told the Dail in October

    “In my statements last week, I outlined the circumstances in which I accepted loans from friends and a gift in Manchester. I explained that I considered at the time that I was not in breach of any legal or ethical requirement, both then applying to ministers or intended to apply through pending legislation.

    This arose because of the context of the personal difficulties which I was experiencing; because of the intent of friends to assist me in those personal circumstances out of long-established friendship and, at my insistence, on the basis of a loan and, in the case of Manchester, because I was there in a personal capacity, and because of the clear understanding that this created no obligation or expectation of influence.”

    the most devious of them all…

  • Rory

    “both inappropriate and imprudent”

    Damn! I thought this was about Lembit again. You are a spoilsport, Pete.