What about the Revenue Bertie?

Sarah Carey is now settling in to Palo Alto but before she left, she fired this salvo at the Taoiseach…

Whatever about the Tribunal , the Rev are going to have some fun. The October 31 deadline is coming up for tax returns and I just filed mine. Every single €50 I get for minor radio interviews has to be accounted for. And he’s pissed off cos we’d like to know where he got the £50k in CASH from? My parents were audited in the early nineties, around about the time Bertie was dropping Celia off to the bank with a briefcase full of cash. The taxman went through my mother’s account at the local shop and claimed she couldn’t possibly be feeding her family on the low budget shown in the accounts. She had to explain how she fed us! And Bertie thinks we are supposed to accept he saved 50k in cash?

, ,

  • The Dubliner

    Great logic, or, rather, lack of. It is a rather obvious non-sequitur to claim that the idiosyncrasies of her or her mother’s personal bookkeeping practices equate to propriety and probity and that, ergo, all that is done differently is duplicitous by default when it is simply done differently.

  • susan

    I suppose it is a backhanded compliment to the points Sarah Carey does make that the Dubliner sees fit to refute only a point she never made. There is nowhere the slightest intimation in Carey’s piece that “the idiosyncrasies of her or her mother’s personal bookkeeping practices equate to propriety and probity and that, ergo, all that is done differently is duplicitous by default when it is simply done differently.”

    Carey merely makes the point that of course the Taoiseach should be held to the same standards and level of scrutiny as his subjects, er, citizens. If her mother was audited in the early nineties and questioned re: how she managed to keep the family fed on such a small income — and apparently she was — it is patronising piffle to maintain that it is petty and/or inappropriate for Ahern be held accountable for his own finances during the same period.

    That said, sadly it will probably work.

  • A case of the Middle Class Bluetongue for Bertie me thinks !!

    Bluetongue Bertie, has a kind of ring to it.

    Not to worry, a nice holiday in Burgas Bulgaria, surrounded by longstanding close family friends, will give Bluetongue Bertie comfort.

    Bluetongue Bertie Beats Rap,next stop Burgas Bulgaria !!

  • George

    I would be interested to hear if Ms Carey’s parents paid more tax than the average PAYE worker at that time.

    If she is convinced they paid as much as the PAYE parents who were keeping this country afloat (paying Bertie’s wages in the process) and weren’t living off the backs of the rest of us like the farmers and other self-employed I’ll grant her a spot of righteous indignation.

    Otherwise, give me a break. Let you who has not sinned cast the first stone. I would love to know if parents cooked the books so she got a grant to go Trinners.

    Bitter me? Never.

  • susan

    “Let you who has not sinned cast the first stone.”

    Ah. the old “Jesus Says Good Governance is for Wallies” Defense, and only four posts in?

  • George

    susan,
    nothing to do with good governance. Let Carey slam Bertie all she wants. More power to her if she actually did. There’s enough she could have said but there was no analysis.

    Instead, she is playing an Béal Bocht, pontificating on high about fiscal integrity when it comes to the revenue and all the while expecting us to view the self-employed as an example of purity in these matters.

    Which if you look at the tax returns from the period and compare them to the PAYE burden is pure toss.

    I’m sorry you can’t and shouldn’t use Bertie to wash away the sins of the self-employed during this period.

  • The Dubliner

    There is nowhere the slightest intimation in Carey’s piece that “the idiosyncrasies of her or her mother’s personal bookkeeping practices equate to propriety and probity and that, ergo, all that is done differently is duplicitous by default when it is simply done differently.” -susan

    Pardon? Perhaps you missed these two statements:

    “Every single €50 I get for minor radio interviews has to be accounted for.”

    “The taxman went through my mother’s account at the local shop and claimed she couldn’t possibly be feeding her family on the low budget shown in the accounts. She had to explain how she fed us!”

    Therefore, “And Bertie thinks we are supposed to accept he saved 50k in cash?”

    Her botched argument is ‘P is prim and proper. My mother and I did P. Therefore, my mother did what is prim and proper. Anyone who does non-P is neither prim nor proper. Bertie did non-P. Therefore, .’

    The conclusion that Bertie did something improper because he didn’t do what either she or her mother did is a non-sequitur because it doesn’t follow from the propositions, nor do any of her other imperatives follow. If she has some evidence that Bertie’s affairs warrant scrutiny beyond the current level then she should present it to the relevant authorities instead or squealing in a puerile manner, “My bloody mother got audited, so should Bertie!!” Hysterical imperatives from bored middle-class housewives don’t make a case, my dear.

  • The Dubliner

    And just in case you make some trite claim about ignoring your other points:

    “Carey merely makes the point that of course the Taoiseach should be held to the same standards and level of scrutiny as his subjects, er, citizens.” – susan

    Oh dear… isn’t a Tribunal holding him to a much higher standard than citizens are held to? After all, Sarah’s mother was merely audited, not subjected to a media witch hunt or a full-blown public inquiry.

    “If her mother was audited in the early nineties and questioned re: how she managed to keep the family fed on such a small income—and apparently she was—it is patronising piffle to maintain that it is petty and/or inappropriate for Ahern be held accountable for his own finances during the same period.” – susan

    Who cares what happened to either her or her mother? To say that all citizens should be audited because her mother was is an asinine argument.

  • The Dubliner

    “Tom Gilmartin says that Eoin O’Callaghan told him he gave Bertie two payments of £50k and £30k. The Tribunal is asking Ahern the source of money,£50k and £30k which were lodged to his accounts. Why is that obscure? Why is that a waste of time? This is what the Tribunal is for. Seems quite logical to me. More logical than someone saving their entire salary ( what was left from the alimony) in cash in a safe over 5 years.” – Sarah Carey

    By the way, this example of hackery from the same article is what passes for fair comment by Sarah Carey. She repeats libellous allegations made under privilege as though they were proven facts, making no effort to point out that both the allegation and the credibility of the person making it is contested, showing no respect for the concept of due legal process, innocent until proven otherwise, or a person’s right to his or her good name and reputation. Essentially, she behaves like an ignoble savage, sans all decency. Her weak reasoning leads her to conclude that Bertie Ahern must be guilty of being bribed because she can’t conceive of any other way that a person could accumulate cash. That isn’t evidence of anything other than her lack of imagination. I sincerely hope this irrational clown is never given jury duty.

    Owen O’Callaghan denies Tom Gilmartin’s allegation outright, as do the other parties:

    “I have decided to issue this statement as a result of increasing levels of frustration and despair at what I am being subjected at the hands of Thomas Gilmartin who has, since 29 May this year, been engaged in a tormented marathon of lies and bitterness under the dubious protection of tribunal privilege and, more seriously, immunity from prosecution which was issued to him by the DPP.

    Neither did Mr Ahern, at any time, directly or indirectly, receive any monies from me, from any of my companies or from anyone acting on my behalf in respect of any project in which our company was involved.” – Owen O’Callaghan

    Finally, I agree with Sarah Carey that the same standards of scrutiny should apply to all. If she is consistent, she will now petition for a tribunal to investigate both her and her mother’s financial affairs, followed by a media witch hunt.

  • sammaguire

    Carey merely makes the point that of course the Taoiseach should be held to the same standards and level of scrutiny as his subjects, er, citizens.

    Posted by susan on Sep 28, 2007 @ 07:28 PM

    His “subjects” get away with murder. You should have seen the face of the guy who painted my house when I insisted that the VAT should be paid and that I get a receipt. This I can assure you is untypical. I would love to see Bertie’s knockers subject to the same level of scrutiny (style of carpets, price of curtains,price of Newbridge cutlery etc) as he has been put through. Would be very interesting to know how many opposition politicians would voluntarily be happy to allow their private finances to be subjected to such forensic scrutiny. Not many I’m pretty sure.

  • sammaguire

    “This I can assure you is untypical.”

    Should be:

    “This I can assure you is not untypical.

  • Wilde Rover

    Oh Dubliner, your ad hominem attacks are inspiring.

    “By the way, this example of hackery from the same article is what passes for fair comment by Sarah Carey.”

    Good opener, although you might have included a reference questioning her sanity here. A good start is half the battle, after all

    “She repeats libellous allegations made under privilege as though they were proven facts, making no effort to point out that both the allegation and the credibility of the person making it is contested, showing no respect for the concept of due legal process, innocent until proven otherwise, or a person’s right to his or her good name and reputation.”

    Attacking the Tribunal and Sarah Carey with the “libellous allegations”? Killing two birds with the one stone. Nice.

    “Essentially, she behaves like an ignoble savage, sans all decency.”

    Lovely. Attacking the humanity of the messenger is always a sure fire way to distract from the central allegations.

    “Her weak reasoning”

    Finally, an attack on her mental capabilities. For a second there I was worried that there wasn’t going to be one.

    “leads her to conclude that Bertie Ahern must be guilty of being bribed because she can’t conceive of any other way that a person could accumulate cash.”

    Her brain doesn’t work properly, you see? If it did, she would be able to “conceive” of a reason why a public representative would be given no strings attached money and not waste everyone’s time with all these questions.

    “That isn’t evidence of anything other than her lack of imagination.”

    Yeah, Sarah. It’s like Santa Claus. He won’t come to you if you don’t believe in him.

    “I sincerely hope this irrational clown is never given jury duty.”

    The final stab, as it jams between the rib cage and into the heart, is always the sweetest.

    I formally propose this delicious assault for Slugger’s Ad Hominem Attack of the Year.

  • Sam Maguire – I would suggest that insisting that VAT be paid is the unusual act. Even here (Ontario) where total sales tax is 14% people are very quick to look for no-tax cash deals, never mind 21% as in the Republic.

    Dubliner – I think people would be prepared to give it a rest if Bertie resigned, but he’s still in power so the Caesar’s wife principle is still in force.

  • susan

    George, Sarah Carey doesn’t pretend to be setting out the definitive case against Bertie, only arguing against Bernard O’Connor’s attack on the need for a Tribunal itself. Nor she is she whiny about her mother’s auditing or about having to report her radio fees, merely saying that the same standards and scrutiny that apply to citizens ought naturally apply to their elected representatives.

    As for your statement, “I’m sorry you can’t and shouldn’t use Bertie to wash away the sins of the self-employed during this period.” — well, George, I agree, and surely you agree using the the self-employed to wash away the “sins” of Bertie is equally and transparently bankrupt.

    You state that “the farmers and other self-employed” are “living off the backs of the rest of us.” Why, George? Farmers, I can guess, the self-employed presumably for not insisting that VAT be paid (paying for goods and services in cash to avoid paying VAT being as common among PAYE families as among the self-employed), saving in cash, under-reporting etc.

    Why is it not “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone” for the self-employed, but it is for Bertie? One rule for an Taoiseach, one for tradesmen? After all, the self-employed aren’t just opinionated Trinity-educated collumnists, they are also shop-keepers, publicans, plumbers, electricitions, cabinet makers. Coupled with the Dubliner’s contempt for “housewives’ these are big portions of the electorate to shower bile on as the FF Soldiers of Destiny sally North.

    I appreciate life was awkward for Bertie Ahern during the period in question, but no more awkward for him then tfor the average single mother of one, or married father of four. I don’t know what the findings of the Tribunal will be, but having it go forward with full cooperation IS a matter of good governance. If the perception is that those at the top have contempt for the rules, or are exempt, what motivation is there for those struggling to make a go of it at the bottom or the middle of society to comply? As Sam Maguire’s post highlights, not much.

  • sarah

    deary me.

    Let’s see, first Slugger, I only went to Palo Alto for the week! So glad to comeback and find a link and a lively discussion 🙂 and thank you to my defenders!

    Now, for those who objected to my point let me clarify (outside of the little rant on my blog)

    I have two points.

    1. The Bertie spin claims that somehow he has been singled out by the Tribunal. He has not. He is going through a process which every other victim of an allegation has done – he has to go in and explain his actions and motivations of past deeds which may well be innocent but might not be. This is no more than every other politician or business man has had to put up with. Its mean and cruel, and I should know I was a witness at the Moriarty Tribunal and saw it at first hand. In fact, you could say Denis O’Brien IS a victim of a witchunt – Ahern is just another name on a list of politicians who got money.

    So Ahern is simply in the same boat as everyone else. And remember this is the man who claims credit for setting up the Tribunal (though the Dail did) and promised us all he would happily co-operate with them and look forward to his day/s in the box! Quite a turn around.

    2. The comparison with a tax audit is relevant as many OAPs are discovering now that their non-resident accounts are being hauled over and the interest and penalties pile up. The Bertie spin contends that going through his accounts and demanding to know the source of money is outrageous and mean and unfair. My point is this: no its not. That’s what everyone who is outside the PAYE sector has to go through. That’s why those with the chip on the shoulder about self-employed tax dodgers make me laugh. True there are plenty of non-VAT paying tradesmen and dodgy business people about. But when the Rev catch up with them they are hammered. Meanwhile, the teachers giving grinds will never be audited – and Ahern would never have been either until the Tribunal started asking questions.

    So I say, fine, if everyone thinks the Tribunal is a waste of time and money fair enough! Let the Rev in (and remember they have already called him after the Brian Dobson interview) and have a go. If he thinks that the Tribunal are being hard on him, then he’s in for a treat with those guys.

    AND RIGHTLY SO. I did not argue for any special treatment for my mother, or farmers or defend tax dodging. I described an existing piece of State machinery that demands to know very personal details of its citizen’s finances and that as Minister for Finance he was more aware than any citizen and under greater obligation than any other citizen to declare his income and pay his tax on it. If he can prove he did this, (and remember, in an audit, the person HAS to prove the source of everything -if he can’t then the Rev ASSUME its undeclared income) then fair enough. If he can’t, then throwing the book at him does not mean he has been singled out in a politically motivated witchhunt – it means he is subject to the law, in the same way as any one else who has been audited.

    Who has a problem with that?

    s

  • susan

    Sounds reasonable enough to me, Sarah.