The Friends of Bertie Ahern

 Posted by on May 3, 2007  Add comments
May 032007
 

I thought it would be good to give the political ranting a break, just for tonight, and I was actually going to tell you a joke instead of venting and cursing and posturing and projectile vomiting.

But no.

Bertenstein just won’t go away, will he?

What sort of bollocks is he talking now? What sort of shit is this about the latest bundle of money? Does he think we’re all completely stupid?

Well, come to think of it, maybe we are all completely stupid, having re-elected this crowd of corrupt, inept gobshites over and over again, despite all the revelations about their crookedness and their incompetence. We deserve them.

The latest horse-shit has me in a knot though. No – seriously, I mean my brain is knotted up trying to figure it all out. In fact, I got so knotted up that I had to do one of my simplified chronologies to fit it into my rather inflexible brain.

This is more a stream of consciousness than a posting tonight, so feel free to drift away any time it starts to get on your nerves.

Here’s what I have so far, but maybe some of the People will help to fill in the gaps or correct whatever I got wrong. A sort of Bocollaboration. I’ve converted all the amounts from Britpounds and old Irish punts to Euros for simplicity).

1993 Bertie, Minister for Finance, gets £28,000 from his friends, who are:

Paddy Reilly, Des Richardson, Padraic O’Connor, Jim Nugent, David McKenna, Fintan Gunne, Mick Collins and Charlie Chawke

For clarification, I bought a house around the same time. I took out a mortgage for 20 years. It was for about £28,000. It was very expensive. This was not small money. Just to keep things in context, this was the kind of cash that most people were borrowing to buy their entire house.

Yet, Bertie knew people who could just hand it over to him.

Me: 20 years working to pay for it.

Bertie: There ya go. No problem.

What the fuck???

1993 Bertie, Minister for Finance had saved €50,000 in cash, despite ruinous marital separation. As his bank account was in joint names, he kept all the money in cash. It isn’t clear why he couldn’t just open an account in his own name.

1994 Bertie, Minister for Finance gets €20,000 from his friends, who are:

Joe Burke, Dermot Carew, Barry English and Paddy Reilly

Of these gifts, €25,000 went to his daughters’ education according to Bertie, leaving a balance of €23,000.

1994 Bertie, Minister for Finance, attends a function in Manchester attended by businessmen and engages in a spontaneous question and answer session. The businessmen spontaneously collect €8,000 for him because they know he’s having a messy separation from his wife. Mick Wall, a millionaire businessman, is present but doesn’t attend the function. He’s only a bus-driver (a millionaire bus-driver) and he waits outside.

1994 According to his police driver, Bertie, Minister for Finance, travels to Manchester with a suitcase full of cash.

1994 Bertie rents house from Mick Wall, millionaire bus-driver. House value is €190,000. Monthly rent €600. Cost of house to Mick Wall at prevailing interest rates, about €2,000 per month.

Dec 1994 Mick Wall, millionaire bus-driver, gives €40,000 in cash to Celia Ahern, Bertie’s partner at the time. (Obviously, this has nothing to do with the money Bertie is alleged to have taken to Manchester earlier in the year.)

Bertie explains this week: Any money that Ms Larkin received was a stamp duty issue and it was towards refurbishing the house

Tenants are not liable for stamp duty and €40,000 seems like a lot of money to refurbish a brand new house.

1995 Mick Wall changes his will, leaving the house to Bertie, Minister for Finance.

1994 – 1997 Bertie and Celia live in the house, paying about a third of what it would cost for a mortgage. The rent they pay in the three years is about half of the €40,000 Mick Wall is said to have spent on the refurbishment. Obviously, Mick didn’t get a great return on his investment.

1997 Bertie buys the house for €220,000. Not a bad deal for a Dublin house in that location. Not bad at all.

Bertie sees nothing wrong with a Minister for Finance receiving such gifts and favours, even when the people giving money have extensive property interests, and might benefit significantly from certain tweaking of various Finance Acts. Something a Minister for Finance might be in a position to do, in the National Interest.

Take, for instance, Des Richardson, one of Bertie’s generous friends in 1993. Richardson’s company, Berraway, had what was termed a “strategic consultancy” with Rohan Holdings, who paid the company €1.08 million in fees between 1996 and 2000. Now, it just so happens, purely by coincidence, that Bertie introduced a tax break in 1994 which, astonishingly, had only one beneficiary: Rohan Holdings. As a result of the tax break, Rohan immediately saved €2 million in tax, and a further €200,000 every year from then on. But of course, this is purely coincidence.

Am I just plain stupid here?

What do you think?

__________________

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