How Bertiegate boosted FF and nearly killed the PDs…

In yesterday’s Irish Times Deaglán de Bréadún comes up with as good a reason for Michael McDowell’s demise, as TD, leader of his party, and Tanaiste as any offered elsewhere. He argues, in particular, that his responses to a media onslaught on Ahern over ‘Bertiegate’ allegations leaked from the Mahon Tribunal were highly erratic:

Having successfully convinced a significant proportion of the electorate in 2002 that the PDs were needed to ride shotgun in ethical terms on Fianna Fáil, the smaller party was inevitably damaged when it decided to remain on the rollercoaster with Bertie Ahern last autumn.

But the PDs might have survived that episode if they had kept their nerve when the election campaign got under way. Always very media-oriented, some members of the PDs were rattled by further leaks from the Mahon tribunal which again showed the Taoiseach in an unfavourable light. Historians may come to see it as the critical moment of the campaign.

Sunday newspapers were led to believe the party was walking out of government. But there was an internal revolt and the PDs reverted to their self-appointed role as the Coalition’s internal moral monitor. The PDs came across as dithering and indecisive during their “lost weekend”. Ironically, Fianna Fáil was energised by the crisis.

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  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Opinion polls suggested the plain people of Ireland did not believe Berty about his finanace and thought that he still had questions to answer. But the plain people of Ireland are also the endebted people of Ireland and would rather have a less than honest leader than a collapse in house prices.

    Having already concluded Bertie was not honest there was no need to for the PDs to keep a check on him/FF.

  • jaffa

    Not just indebted but still ambitious, personally and nationaly

    FG, the Christian Democrats major on integrity
    Labour, the Social Democrats major on equity
    The Greens major on sustainability
    FF seems to major on ambition, for themselves and the state; they always want more.

    Ireland still has ambition, “now the next steps” and all that. From the money to the Masters Bertie’s provided a good bit so far and it looks like he still has more to offer (or to associate himself with). Either people are willing to hold off on the retrenching of integrity and equity (if need be) in public life until they see what he’s got for this Dail or they think he can deliver as much of these as they really need.

  • Brian Boru

    At least the PDs still have TDs unlike the Socialist Party.

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    The loss of Michael McDowell from public life is a gain as far as I’m concerned. It’s like the perennial student debateer has finally gotten his marching orders after failing his exams for the final time.

    Interestingly I heard the PD general secretary on Raidio na Gaeltachta this morning and he gave a list of all the TDs he was sorry to see lose their seats. Maybe it was because it went without saying but Michael McDowell’s name was conspicuous by its absence from that list and when asked specifically about the loss of the leader, Higgins merely said, to quote another fallen leader, that he ‘did the state some service’.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Although nonbody really know knows where the Celtic tiger came from or when it might ramble off – lower taxes probably were a major contributory reason. Although against the PDs myself partly for that reason it has to be admitted they got it right. It is quite ironical and annoying that the 2 people most responsible for Ireland’s economic miracle are 2 of the least popular Mrs Thatcher ( where the PDs got their policy from ) and the boy Mc Dowell.

    To paraphrase the famous Norwegian footaball commentator “Maggie Thatcher your protege has take one hell of a beating”.

  • SuperSoupy

    The opening statements from Mahon state the $45,000 was paid in dollars.

    Things just got complicated for Bertie. I may stick a few quid on Biffo for Taoiseach.

  • manichaeism

    I think most people acknowledge that low corporation tax had a lot to do with the economic success of the Republic. That was introduced by Ruairi Quinn (Labour Party) and had nothing to do with the PD’s or Maggie Thatcher

  • SuperSoupy

    Looking like possible perjury.

  • SuperSoupy

    It all starts to unravel.

    Coalition partners could be a little harder to find or will the Teflon Taoiseach survive again?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it


    “The opening statements from Mahon state the $45,000 was paid in dollars.”

    Is this certain ? The warriors of corruption could be in serious bother if so.

    The brass neck of Bertie has to be marvelled at, no bank acocunt, shirts for Charlie, money from Manchester, appointing a corrupt friend as Foreign minister in the middle of negotiating the GFA etc etc and yesterday I even heard him trying to claim responsibilty for the nortern peace process.

    What a boy.

  • SuperSoupy


    Check the update on RTE. Only a tiny amount of Sterling went through the AIB that day but an exact $ exchange was carried out and this came immediately after Bertie and Albert returned from a trip to the US where they met developers.

    2+2 = Cowen?