“can’t take the people of the country for gullible fools…”

If you’re expecting, or hoping, for a shock from the vote I wouldn’t necessarily hold your breath, but Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is facing his first no confidence vote on the first day of the new Dáil session. It, of course, relates to his convoluted testimony to the Mahon Tribunal. Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny in the Dáil, “Has the Taoiseach told the truth to the Irish people, to this Dáil and to the Mahon Tribunal. My answer: he has not.”, and new Labour Party leader, Eamon Gilmore, has pointed out in his speech, “The credibility of the Taoiseach is a matter of public importance”. In this updating report Mr Ahern is quoted in the Dáil – “I am satisfied my evidence will be vindicated” – full speech here. [Ermm, which evidence would that be, Bertie? – Ed] Adds no surprises there then – the motion was defeated 81 to 76 votes

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  • Conor Lavelle

    81 for Bertie, 76 against. I can’t see how anyone can see this as anything other than opposition grandstanding. Ye had your chance at the election, boys. Ye lost. Get over it.

  • joeCanuck

    The thing is: there are rogues and there are likeable rogues. Just ask Bill Clinton.

  • Dewi

    Bit to close to call that…wonder when the first stirrings amonsgt Fianna Fail will become evident.

  • The Dubliner

    Dewi, as Bertie Ahern will be exonerated by the Tribunal is due course, I’d say ‘never.’ Media whitchunts are mere pups that bark these days.

  • Pete Baker

    Dewi

    Not necessarily Fianna Fáil.. perhaps their partners in government.. the Green Party.

    Current distribution of seats in the Dáil

    Fianna Fáil 77
    Fine Gael 51
    Labour Party 20
    Green Party 6
    Sinn Féin 4
    Progressive Democrats 2
    Independent 5
    Ceann Comhairle 1

  • Those 81 votes tell me that the Greens have discarded yet another shred of principle to climb down into the cess-pit with their FF partners. What a surprise.
    __________

    Just today we have had:

    1.
    “Independent TD Michael Lowry and former Fianna Fáil senator Eddie Bohan paid tax settlements totalling €3.48 million, according to the quarterly tax defaulters’ list published yesterday.”
    That’s today’s Irish Times.

    2.
    “a former Fianna Fail TD has gone on trial over allegations that he got a tax clearance certificate by falsely claiming he was tax compliant, while he held funds in a bogus non-resident account.

    “Michael Collins (66) of White Oak, Red House Hill, Patrickswell, Co Limerick, who represented the Limerick West constituency from 1997 to this year, has pleaded not guilty to the tax offence.”
    That’s today’s Indy.

    3.
    “In Ireland, no government watchdog has ever begun a criminal investigation against a politician. The Irish police do not investigate allegations of political corruption.

    Instead of immediate accountability, Irish politicians and officials simply turn up at very expensive – and, for the most part, ineffective tribunals to inform the nation that they are suffering from amnesia.”
    Letter from Anthony Sheridan in today’s Irish Times.
    __________

    Even when a minor miscreant is caught, condemned and jugged, the other politicos cover for him. As in:
    “Independent Galway county councillor Michael Stroke Fahy has secured unanimous support from colleagues for retention of his local authority seat while serving a jail sentence.
    The former Fianna Fáil representative, who is appealing a 12-month conviction and fine for misappropriation of local authority funds, is in Castlerea prison, Co Roscommon…
    A meeting of the council yesterday heard a request from Cllr Fahy for colleagues to accept that his absence from meetings was due to ‘illness and his attendance in Dublin’.”
    That’s the Irish Times two weeks ago today.

    etc. etc.
    __________

    Has anyone kept a comprehensive list of just how many bungs have been alleged during the Moriarty and Mahon Tribunals? I’ve lost count.

    In the squelch of this omnipresent sleaze, what’s an odd visitors’ centre between friends?

  • Harry

    The Irish are fools and the people who lead them are gangsters, even to the point of murdering those who oppose them (just ask the Heavy gang or Terence Wheelock’s family) or destroying the careers of those who seek to investigate and hold them accountable (just look at the utter impotence and obsequiousness of Irish so-called journalists on TV and in the papers, or ask Frank Connolly and those who supported the Centre for Public Inquiry).

    The Irish people are fools who are incapable of connecting the dots and seeing the bigger picture. Nor are they capable of taking the long-term view. This is post-colonialism in action – a form of national depression and passivity linked with speaking another country’s language such that what is spoken is evasive rather than descriptive and is inconsequential rather than dangerously accurate or expressive.

    Those who oppose this government or who are subject to its predations – for example, those hundreds of thousands who are currently suffering under extremely high rents – will have understood the clear message of Ahern and his gangster buddies; they will only be opposed through force, not through reason or law, for reason and law have no currency whatsoever in this society.

  • joeCanuck

    From Harry:
    “Irish people are fools”

    Mick, do you have a policy about playing the nation?

  • Dewi

    JoeCanuck – Laughed out loud !!!

  • Dewi

    Pete – I think he’s finished – might be a superficial challenge to the process – but the more I learn about Edna Kenny the more I admire him.

  • sammaguire

    “Let’s remember what we’re talking about
    here:an arrangement between friends to
    buy,renovate and re-sell a 1200 sq foot
    house,a bog standard property,about the
    size of a detached garage wherein the
    life partners of most fatcat south Dublin
    lawyers would park their runabout SUVs.”

    Jody Corcoran (didn’t vote FF last election), Sunday Independent.

    Sums it up really. A modest 1200 sq foot semi in a modest part of town. If Bertie is corrupt he’s obviously not very good at it. Let’s get real here. This is a politically motivated witch hunt. Even his detractors acknowledge privately that this is all about a decent man’s marital breakup. They couldn’t defeat him at the ballot box and they won’t defeat him with their dirty tricks either. Anybody arrested yet for the politically motivated leaks before the elections?

  • Dewi

    sammaguire – I dunno – just imperfect recollections of how tens of thousands of pounds in cash were transported to and from banks just don’t sound real to me. I know I’d know every detail if it were my money.

  • The Dubliner

    Dewi, you can read whatever you like into details that are devoid of the full context, and it helps your task if you have formed your conclusions in advance by virtue of being imbued with prejudice that presupposes guilt. Take Harry as an example: he would dispense with due legal process, presumption of innocence, and usurp the function of Tribunal to deliver its verdict in due course simply because that serves his agenda. Now, in the matter of prejudice, what would you make of a leading politician (party leader and Taoiseach) who borrowed money to invest in shares, lost his shirt on the speculation, and then had his the debt of £170,000 written off by AIB bank when he was unable to repay it? You would say, at the very least, that the bank expected a return for their unsurpassed generosity to the politician concerned, wouldn’t you? If you or I borrowed that amount of money from a bank for a speculative investment and did not replay it, the bank would hound us for the last penny. You’re already thinking this amazingly lucky politician must be from FF, aren’t you? Wrong, it is Dr. Garret Fitzgerald from Fine Gael. Yet where are all the lurid details and the media witch-hunt concerning the benefit, conflict of interest, ect, that Garret Fitzgerald must surely have received? After all, that of £170,000 was also given for Garret Fitzgerald in 1993, and is considerably in excess of the amount that has excited the media in relation to Bertie. Well, the reason is simple: Garret Fitzgerald is not a nationalist in the tradition of FF; and ergo, the pro-British media see no reason to hound him over the massive financial gift like they would a FF politician. Hidden agendas compounded by hysterical prejudices.

    As the former presiding judge of the Mahon/Flood Tribunal, Justice Fergus Flood, stated two weeks ago:

    “It must be said there is no suggestion to date that he [Mr Ahern] has given any benefit to his donors other than bed and breakfast. [b]Clearly there has been no breach of standard of conduct or law of the land to date.[/b] The tribunal has acted correctly in setting up an inquiry. Unless some additional evidence is forthcoming [b]the Taoiseach will almost certainly be acquitted of any improper conduct.[/b]” – Mr Justice Fergus Flood

    The State’s ethics agency, Standards in Public Office Commission, also said Ahern doesn’t have a case to answer to it.

    So, be careful about hidden agendas, jumping to conclusions, attempts to destabalise the Irish government, and being led on witch hunts. 😉

  • Dewi

    So, be careful about hidden agendas, jumping to conclusions, attempts to destabalise the Irish government, and being led on witch hunts

    Hells bells Dubliner ! – not trying to do any of that ! – just chucking cash money about does stink ! Like do you keep thousands under the mattress ? ….Why ?? If not slightly illegit ?

  • Harry

    With all due respect Dubliner, you’re really talking bollocks. The usual FF attempts to divert the issue with the stuff about Fitzgerald. The fact is, on the face of it, Fitzgerald is guilty of corruption too. So are the many FG and Labour councillors around the country who make decisions regularly that defy common sense.

    Fianna Fáil are scum. They are destroying the opportunities we have for creating an exciting and dynamic society with their bland gombeen mediocrity and their corruption. Where are the high speed train routes, where is the vision of ireland as a shipping and air transportation hub, where is the investment in 21st century technology such as nanotechnology and its spin-offs – including renewable energy systems, software tools for this new science and infrastructural equipment worth billions such as super efficient electricity transmission systems? Where is the public expression of science to be found on our televisions and in our papers as a means of raising the profile and possibilities available to us? Where is the investigative journalism? Where are the documnetaries on our screens looking back at our histroty as a nation – the Nine Years War, the Flight of the Earls, the truth about the so-called ‘Famine’?

    In short, where are the things that are equal to our potential as a nation and expressive of what should be the free energy of our nation?

    Oh I know, they’re in the property supplements of the papers. They’re in the programmes about House Hunting in the Sun. They’re in panels of ossified grey men in suits being the only ones allowed to windily discourse at length on what few desperately straitened and conservative political shows this country deigns to allow.

    This potential is corralled into that area of public action that is circumscribed by the likes of Ahern – a drab, mickey mouse vision of action that is primarily about houses and land-deals.

    FF have been keeping the people back in order to benefit themselves and their own bullying proprietorial sense of entitlement since they took power in ’32. They are doing precisely the same today, albeit in a new context. They are scum who hold back our country.

    And don’t fool yourself that the leadership of FF are republican. They’re more likely to have you stand to attention for God Save The Queen some time over the coming years and tell you it’s all in the interests of rapprochement than they are to lead you anywhere near a united ireland.

  • Dewi

    And it’s the Irish media on the case – been largely ignored on my brythonic island.

  • sammaguire

    Dubliner,

    Disagree with you on one thing only!! Instead of 170,000 pounds you should have said 170,000 pounds (700,000 euro in today’s money allowing for inflation) as the media are doing in relation to Bertie.

    “sammaguire – I dunno – just imperfect recollections of how tens of thousands of pounds in cash were transported to and from banks just don’t sound real to me. I know I’d know every detail if it were my money.”

    Posted by Dewi on Sep 26, 2007 @ 11:49 PM

    Dewi, the real corruption is the one billion euro of taxpayers money that has gone into this Tribunal. My brand of socialism would have put this into housing,education and the health service rather than into the hands of fatcat lawyers.

  • Harry

    The Irish media have not been on the case, they’ve taken a distincly distant view of proceedings as if their place is to merely report some of the things that others, such as the tribunals, have said. The Irish media has been almost totally inactive in pursuing what these payments are, who they really came from, what inconsistencies can be found through independent investigation and how precisely these payments might be connected to specific deals. Or indeed what other purposes they might serve. The Irish media have been and remain simpering in the face of this and totally toothless. They haven’t, for example, investigated why AIB don’t seem able to bring any light to these cash transactions – a bank that, miraculously when dealing with Bertie Ahern, seems embroiled in questions of ‘interpretation’ sufficient to allow wriggle room for Ahern himself. It is doubtful that any such interpretative latitude would be accorded to any of us in our bank dealings and records of same. It is highly possible the bank is covering for Ahern. Why aren’t the papers pursuing this? Why aren’t they pursuing the so-called members of the Manchester dinner ‘dig-out’ to check that story? Why aren’t they digging in the many many areas that common sense dictates investigative journalists should dig?

    Perhaps they, conveniently, would like us to believe that a 10 year Tribunal means that such investigations remain ‘sub judice’.

    Bungs left, right and centre and these brass-necked scum try to pass it off as something so normal as not even to be questioned, and try to bluster and bully those who speak about them at all. And their spineless and simpering fellow-travellers in the media provide perfect cover by abandoning their responsibility to the truth.

    The country is shit. Anyone of integrity or vision must despair that slobbering brass-necked gangsters can sit in our parliament and bluster and push their way through. Appalling. And it means that they will drive the country to civil unrest, for there is no alternative.

  • sammaguire

    “bland gombeen mediocrity”

    Posted by Harry on Sep 27, 2007 @ 12:55 AM

    Ah Harry get a life. I fully accept that no society should rest on it’s laurels and be smug about it’s achievements. We should always be aiming for a better society. In saying that I think it’s fair to say the 26 county state has done rather well over the past 20 years (FF in power for 18 years). I know because I’ve seen posts by SFers and their different offshoots boasting about it to unionists on various websites. Funny they don’t seem to boast about it to FFers…

  • The Dubliner

    Sam, he borrowed it in 1987, but the bank wrote the debt off in 1993 despite it being well within the means of Dr. Garret Fitzgerald to repay it. His generous state pensions, jounalist work, executive positions, ect, would have easily covered it. So why did the bank give him such a massive loan for speculation in shares and not demand that he repay it? Why didn’t the media on a witch hunt about it or try to attach the label of corruption to Fine Gael? Simple, Fine Gael aren’t proud Irish nationalists, but will look across the water for direction in matters related to the north, yielding to their political masters there.

  • jmcconnell

    Harry

    I can tell you why the media do not dig deeper about rampant corruption in the ROI, because they know it will not make one bit of difference.

    The simple fact is that the one third of voters who are the core FF electorate vote for their TD’s precisely because FF is full of lying cheating scum. Because it is the party of gombeens, gurriers and gobshites.

    FF is a spoils party pure and simple. Its only political purpose is to gain and retain power to deliver the spoils to it clients, sorry voter. The fact that they are just screwing their neighbors, their children, and ultimately themselves does not matter to the average FF voter as long as it looks like FF is sending some of the spoils their way, now.

    The reason why FF and Irish politics is more like something one would find in South America is because the average FF voter has more in common culturally and politically with the mestizos voters of Mexico, Peru or Bolivia than any Western European electorate I can think of.

    FF is the very cunning Peasants Party – for very stupid peasant voters.

    Welcome to the ROI – Bolivia-by-the-Sea

  • sammaguire

    “for very stupid peasant voters.”

    Very condescending. And I suppose you probably label yourself a “socialist”.
    As the majority of FF voters live in towns and cities you’re just showing your ignorance.