“it is the interpretation of these facts which seems to have disturbed the PDs so much”

Despite yesterday’s speculation, RTÉ reports that the Progressive Democrats have announced that they are not withdrawing from government. Instead the PD leader, Michael McDowell, has called on Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to give “a credible and comprehensive public statement” and that the statement “must be made before polling day and go beyond the Quarryvale aspect of the Mahon Tribunal.” Hmm.. Meanwhile the Sunday Independent’s Jody Corcoran has said he gave the PDs the new “highly significant” information that has concerned Michael McDowell so much.. but he can’t tell us what it is.. Adds Statement by Michael McDowell

It now appears that the Tribunal has been given a radically different account of the transactions which were the subject of public controversy last Autumn from that which was given to me by the Taoiseach then.

From the RTÉ report

In a statement this morning, Mr McDowell said he believed information given by the Taoiseach on his personal finances had been anything but complete.

He said it is now appropriate that a full statement be made by Mr Ahern and he said that the information given by the Taoiseach last autumn was very different from the information now available from other sources.

The PDs have said the statement must be made before polling day and go beyond the Quarryvale aspect of the Mahon Tribunal.

Mr McDowell said the Taoiseach must now give a credible and comprehensive public statement.

‘While in the Sunday Independent

On Friday morning, when I spoke to the Minister for Justice, he was aware that I had the entire story.

Much of it, certainly the more meaty parts, had already, by that stage been put into the public domain, mainly by the Mail on Sunday and the Irish Times , two newspapers with their own agenda, as every newspaper has.

What I told the PDs was more of the same, information already out there. There seemed to me to be no silver bullet, as such, no revelation not already in circulation that they were not already aware of.

But it is the interpretation of these facts which seems to have disturbed the PDs so much.

Certainly the entire interconnected story had not been put together chronologically. The nuances of who did what, when and why was lost on Mr McDowell, until the information I supplied filled in the gaps.

Some of the further information I provided turned up on the front page of the Irish Times yesterday, relating to the Taoiseach’s alleged involvement in foreign exchange transactions.

But I also relayed to him certain matters relating to missing files; of issues relating to insurance payments and of the specific roles played by certain people in the political, legal and business professions, many of these people known to the Tanaiste.

I told him everything I knew – or most of it – to allow him to make the decision he must now make.

As I write this at 6pm on Saturday, it seems the PDs are preparing to pull out of Government, to abandon Fianna Fail, or rather, to cut loose Bertie Ahern, and fight the election alone.

Mr McDowell is between a rock and a hard place. He is now attempting to choreograph the PDs’ exit and, in doing so, will do his utmost to distance his party from Fianna Fail.

It will be a damage limitation exercise. The best he can now hope for is that the electorate will not punish him too severely, whichever decision he arrives at, and they could punish him either way.

Adds From Michael McDowell’s statement

This issue first arose in September/October of last year. At that time I met with the Taoiseach to express my concerns at what was emerging and to seek to clarify in detail the circumstances surrounding the issue.

In response the Taoiseach gave me information which purported to be a full disclosure of all relevant matters in respect of this issue and on the basis of that disclosure, I agreed to continue in Government with Fianna Fail.

However in recent days it has clearly emerged that the information given to me by the Taoiseach was far from complete.

During last week I received additional information from a number of sources which suggested that the picture given by various parties to the Tribunal differed markedly from that given to me by the Taoiseach last Autumn.

In those circumstances I felt that it was important for me to ascertain whether these suggestions coming from different sources were correct.

It now appears that the Tribunal has been given a radically different account of the transactions which were the subject of public controversy last Autumn from that which was given to me by the Taoiseach then.

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  • dodrade

    I’m not an expert on southern politics but surely this fudge is a huge mistake for the PD’s?

  • Greenflag

    It is a huge mistake . The Irish people are going to vote not on what happened 15 years ago but on who best to entrust the government of the country to for the next 5 years . Bertie has proved to be a safe pair of hands . His pecadillos such as they are are miniscule in the overall scheme of things .

    FF need to win this election either with or without the PD’s . Ireland needs a strong government that can stand up to the public sector unions exorbitant demands and the challenge of the global economy. Rabbitte and his media cronies would have the country a basket case within a few years . We have seen the UK NHS employ an extra 600,000 people over the past decade with no discernible improvement in health care or waiting lists . Now the same forces in Ireland want 100,000 to be employed in ‘health care’ and with higher wage rates which can only be gouged out of the productive sectors in the economy .

    Did we learn anything form the shambles of the 1980’s ? Our highly paid public sector are becoming too greedy for their own good !

    We could do with another MacSharry for the tough period ahead not a combination of Kenny’s headless mongrel foxes and the media favoured Rabbitte tails of labour.

    Bertie will be back and in a couple of years should hand over the reins to Mr Cowen.

  • Mayoman

    I hope this is death knell for this petty,right wing rump. They floated the idea of leaving government as a last gasp for credibility, saw they would sink even deeper into the shit, and are now flailing around for a way out. As for your comment Greenflag, love this comment from Sarah Collins: “However, the Celtic Tiger was thirty years in the making, not three, and it is slowly dawning on everyone that a chimpanzee in government in the late nineties could have sat and watched the taxes roll in. The challenge for a government in such times was not how to create economic success, but how not to blow it. And blow it, they did. The money has been squandered on pet projects and unforgivable mismanagement.”

  • Mayoman
  • Wilde Rover

    Interpretation of what the bookies are saying more like:

    http://www.irishelection.com/05/another-more-novel-poll/

    Liz O’Donnell, Tom Parlon, Fiona O’Malley, Tim O’Malley all set to go down according to the number crunchers in Paddy Power.

    Of course, they don’t always get it right. However, that could also mean Noel Grealish may not get the final seat in Galway West.

    Either way, there is no chance of FF/PDs reaching the 80s, let alone 84 seats.

    And that means brown trousers time for the PDs. They might save their hides by declaring they would go into opposition at the end of this Dail.

    It’s a risky tactic, but then again they don’t seem to have much to lose, according to the bookies.

    FF and SF on around 80 though. Throw in a few independents…

    Could any of the Soldiers of Destiny reading clarify the shape any quasi-coalition with SF might take?

  • URQUHART

    this is a huge mistake by McDowell and shows once again what happens when politicians and their advisers don’t listen to anyone who they haven’t skulled pints with in Doheny & Nesbitts.

    Brendan O’Connor, who admits he got it completely wrong the last time this shit was peddled, gets it completely right in his article today.

  • SuperSoupy

    For those of you trying to catch up with this story here are some of the financial transactions that Bertie is having to explain (from a politics.ie contributor sw):

    Over Christmas 1993, following the finalising of his separation in November, Bertie’s “friends” gave him £22,500. Later in 1994 a few of them gave him a further £16,500. Late in 1994, he got stg£8K from de lads in Manchester, and in December stg£30K from Wall, to “renovate” a four year old house that Wall didn’t actually buy for another 7 months and subsequently sold to Bertie in 1997. Another £50K appears at around this time, apparently Bertie’s “savings” that he’d managed to prudently put by since 1987 – despite the small handicap of not having a bank account. The savings and the stg30K were both put into “renovations” – £80K of renovations on a house that was four years old and worth approx £150K at the time, and which neither Bertie, Celia nor Wall actually owned yet……And if Bertie had £50K in savings by the end of 1994, why did he need a £38K dig out from his pals 10 months earlier?

  • Whatever Next

    There’s no chance of any Shinner ever getting into office in the Free State. FF & FG both know which side their bread’s buttered viz Mother England as far as that one goes.

  • Cynic

    “The Irish people are going to vote not on what happened 15 years ago but on who best to entrust the government of the country to for the next 5 years . Bertie has proved to be a safe pair of hands . His pecadillos such as they are are miniscule in the overall scheme of things .”

    So if these allegations are true Greenflag, then you think thta its alright to be a little corrupt; provided everyone around you is worse than you, its OK?

    Great basis for Government