Categories
Crime Politics

Was The Mahon Tribunal Worth It?

The Mahon/Flood tribunal will end up costing over €300 million, and people are asking hard questions about it.  They want to know how an inquiry could possibly cost that much.  They want to know why the police couldn’t have done the same work for a fraction of the money.  They want to know why the tribunal needed lawyers every day, for 15 years and so do I, but all of that is beside the point.

My question is why a lawyer, or anyone else, deserves to be paid €2,500 per day when working on a State-funded project.  I have no doubt that  some people will point out what seems obvious to them: we need the best and therefore we have to pay top money, but to that, I’d reply with one word: bollocks.  We can get top-class investigative skills for a lot less than two and a half grand a day.  I know many sharp, intelligent, highly-qualified men and women who would be happy to provide these services for a fraction of the cost.  Remember, the tribunal is not a court of law and many professionals with experience of intensive inquiry, well able to ask hard questions, would consider a fee of €2,500 per day obscene, as I do myself.

Last year, I asked why tribunals of inquiry need to be run by lawyers, and I heard no convincing response.  The point was very simple: since a tribunal is not a court of law, why should it be run by lawyers?  Why not professionals from any sphere, as long as they possess the required abilities to conduct an investigation?  After all, thinking is not a skill confined to the lawyer class, and investigations are carried out all the time by doctors, architects, engineers.  Dentists, even.  Rational thinking is not something that lawyers are born with.

Three people replied to that post.  Only three.

However, to focus on the price of the tribunal is to miss the point.  Yes, it cost too much, and the model needs to be redesigned.  Yes, it took too long.  Yes, it should have powers of prosecution.  Yes, its findings should be available to the courts as evidence of wrongdoing, but none of that is the point.

Here’s the point.  It took 15 years and €300 million to force Irish peoples’ heads out of the sand.

It took 15 years and €300 million to put on the record, unequivocally, what we already knew but which many of us refused to acknowledge, and while the cost was certainly inflated, this information was still something we needed to have whether we liked it or not.

An entire government cabinet conspired to frustrate the activities of this legally-constituted inquiry.  Three or four or five government ministers were on the take.  Prime ministers were blatantly demanding money from businessmen in return for favours.  Elected members of parliament were actively shaking down property developers for millions.   Senior politicians were corrupt.  Local councillors were riddled with corruption.  Corruption was, in the words of the tribunal, endemic and systemic, which means that our state is utterly, irredeemably crooked.

This is not a democracy.  This is a kleptocracy.

You might think that €300 million is an exorbitant price, and in that I’d agree with you, but the information it provided cannot be valued in monetary terms.  Therefore, while we should certainly find a new approach to organising such inquiries, we should still pay close attention to what they tell us, and the Mahon tribunal has told us something terrifying.  Our democracy was bought and paid for by a bunch of crooked, unprincipled parish-pump bunco-artists, and what’s more, those chancers are only a small section of the crooks that have infested every stratum of our society.

€300 million is certainly a huge sum, but compared to the awareness it offers us, it’s nothing.  Mahon tells us that our democracy has been subverted by crooks and cynics.  What troubles me is the thought that the Irish people might be too blasé to understand that, just as they were stupid enough to re-elect the liar Bertie Ahern despite the evidence staring them in the face.

The planning corruption resulted in entire communities being destroyed and lives ruined.  The Liffey Valley development only went ahead because corrupt politicians killed the Neilstown town centre, condemning a local community to a lifetime of living in a suburban wasteland.  That happened because of bribery and it’s an observable, quantifiable fact.

Thieves wormed their way into public office for the sole purpose of taking bribes, and our people need to know this, whatever the cost.

Yes, the tribunals are too expensive.  Yes, the lawyers ripped us off.  Yes, the state was sucked dry, but the fact remains that our country has been raped by crooks in public office.

Forget the €300 million.  This information is beyond value, as long as we act on it.

Categories
Corruption government Politics

Mahon Tribunal Report

The Mahon Tribunal report is due out shortly, so this is going to be a dynamically changing post as information emerges.

This is the day we find out what Mahon thinks of da Bert, the illiterate fool who steered our country onto a rock while continuing to believe that he was an international statesman.

Gobshite.

I don’t know what the tribunal will say about him, but I know what I think.  In my opinion, he presided over the most debased, corrupt, incompetent, self-serving government this country has ever seen.  I think his cunning and his hubris, combined with his personal uneducated ignorance, formed a toxic mixture that poisoned the whole country.

Time will tell. I can’t yet say what the report will contain  but you can be sure I’ll put it up here as soon as it comes to hand.

________________

UPDATE

The Mahon tribunal has said that it can’t decide if payments to Bertie Ahern were corrupt.

Why?  Because not a word of his evidence was truthful.  To put it another way, Ahern has succeeded in frustrating the inquiry by lying about every single thing he was asked.   Ahern did not give the tribunal a truthful explanation for the money lodged to his account at various times, in various currencies, in the early 90s, and for this reason, the tribunal has been unable to establish where it came from.

The Tribunal is blunt in its findings of fact.  There were no dig-outs. There was no spontaneous whip-round at a dinner in England.  He didn’t win money on the horses as he claimed.  The evidence given by Des Richardson and others supporting Ahern’s dig-out fairytale was untrue.  Half a dozen people each gave the tribunal false information in support of Ahern.  Furthermore, the tribunal says that he did not save £54,000 in cash at a time when he had no bank account.  He lied about this.

Michael Wall did not own the house in Drumcondra — it was Ahern’s at all times, despite what he told the Tribunal, the Dáil and the press.  Wall did not buy the house and later sell it to Ahern, contrary to the evidence given by both men.

The evidence given by Ahern, Joe Burke and Tim Collins about the notorious B/T account is rejected as lies.  The money was not lodged for maintenance of the Fianna Fáil office at Drumcondra.  According to the tribunal, this account was actually for the personal use of Ahern and Collins, a finding unlikely to surprise many people these days.    I had my own views on this account which you can read here if you like.   Collins in his evidence invited the tribunal to swallow the nonsense that B/T stood for Building/Trust, not Bertie/Tim, even though Collins had another account with Des Richardson called D/T.

It was from the B/T account that Bertie provided a huge loan to Celia Larkin which remained unpaid for 15 years until the tribunal started asking about it.  Where did the money come from?  Collins was in no doubt.  It came from golf classics and he stuck to the story until someone pointed out that no golf classics were run until five years after the money was lodged.  By the way, let’s not forget the involvement of Fingers Fingleton in all these shenanigans.  It was Fingers who provided the money for Celia to pay back the FF loan after the tribunal started asking awkward questions.  He had Bertie in his pocket.

These guys loved their codenames.  Let’s not forget the CODR account, whhich they claimed stood for Cumann O Donovan Rossa, and  which definitely didn’t stand for C/O Des Richardson, right?

Right.

What a remarkable coincidence that so many people swore false evidence to the tribunal and at the same time, all the lies somehow told the same story.

Perhaps one of the most worrying statements by the tribunal concerns political interference.

[The tribunal] came under sustained and virulent attack from a number of senior government ministers who questioned, inter alia, the legality of its inquiries as well as the integrity of its members

 

A legally-constituted tribunal of inquiry came under attack from senior government ministers for inquiring into corruption.    It tells us all we need to know about Fianna Fáil’s attitude to democracy and makes their current crocodile tears all the more laughable. Micheál Martin was education minister from 1997 to 2,000 under Bertie Ahern.  He was health minister for the next four years, also under Ahern.   At no time did he raise questions about the arrant nonsense his leader was telling a sworn tribunal of inquiry.

Here’s the choice for Martin and the senior FF members.

1.  They knew what Ahern was up to and either participated or assented to it.  That makes them unfit for public office by virtue of the fact that they have no ethics.

or

2.  The listened to Ahern’s ludicrous explanations of where he got his money and believed him.  That makes them unfit for public office by virtue of the fact that they have no brains.

Which is it?  Either way, all their talk of expelling Ahern from their party is just so much bluster, because it doesn’t matter.  Fianna Fáil no longer matter.  What they did has destroyed communites all over Ireland and has inflicted poverty on a large portion of the Irish people, though not on the likes of Ahern or Flynn, who continue to draw three or four large pensions each.

I’m starting to feel nauseated by all this, so the best thing is probably to provide a list of previous posts here, which were written as the tribunal heard all the ludicrous evidence.

________________
Bertie Ahern and the Mahon Tribunal. He Hasn’t Gone Away, you Know.
Bertie Ahern’s English Money
Bertie and Tim’s B/T Account. Do They Think We’re Complete idiots?
The Kindest, Most trusting and Most Innocent Of Them All
Bertie Ahern, Celia Larkin and the Loan
Celia, Bertie and Fingers. The Plot Thickens
Bertie Ahern — A Man Without Honour
The Friends of Bertie Ahern
Bertie Ahern. Busted!!
Bertenstein

Categories
Economy

Smoke and Mirrors: Politics, Anglo Irish, and what the Bailout will do to Ireland


Smoke and Mirrors

Corrupted politics have been the status quo in Ireland for many years. From Haughey to Ahern, tribunal to inquiry, even from scandal to ever greater scandal, it’s clear that the land of saints and scholars is not being run for the benefit of the people. Indeed, save for a few honest individuals, it’s being run by the powerful elite for their own benefit – and we, the ordinary heart and soul of a nation, are being made to suffer while they feast in luxury.

Ivor Callely is a symptom of the cause. As Bock has pointed out, he has been suspended from Fianna Fáil for his actions where other politicians from the same suspect party have been quietly tolerated after committing far worse acts. The Mahon Tribunal, for example, depicts a sprawling mess of backhanders, favours, and dodgy dealings; Beverly Cooper-Flynn, a proven facilitator of tax evasion, was allowed to rejoin Fianna Fáil. The disease, however, remains the same. The politicians of Ireland act with impunity even in the face of scandal, because if history has shown them anything, it’s that they can still be elected as long as they please the right people.

It’s all smoke and mirrors, at the end of the day. I don’t doubt that there are some TDs that got into politics out of altruism, but the pathetic reality of Ireland is that the majority of our elected representatives are corrupt – especially Fianna Fáil – and it is only a matter of the degree to which they can be bought. The worst of them desire nothing other than to get into power, and hold on there as long as possible. Power means a huge paycheck, an enormous expense tab, and the fawning attention of other members of the Hiberno-elite who know that you can tug the reins of the country in their favour.


The Boom

2006 was the year of the property boom, when house prices all over Ireland hit the highest they had ever been. Between 1996 and 2006, prices had doubled or tripled due to the roaring of the Celtic Tiger; wages were up, credit was available in the expanding mortgage market, and people bought based on the assumption that their house was a solid investment, one whose value would not fall. Where there is demand, supply will increase to match it – and so enter the property developers, who needed loans to build houses and the compliance of the local government to keep regulations out of their way.

A report by the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis has condemned the government as the final cause of the bubble. From an article in the Irish Times in July:

In a 66-page report into the crisis, Nirsa lays blame for the property boom and bust squarely with the Government and local councils. It says light touch regulation and tax incentive schemes administered by a political system infected by those in power favouring friends were the chief culprits. Planning guidelines, regional and national objectives as well as proper assessment of demand for housing were ignored, it claims… …A home-grown “litany of systemic failures” that allowed the over-development and re-zoning of too much land will see housing lie empty in some areas for more than a decade.”

The reports of the Mahon Tribunal released in 2002 showed quite clearly that politicians were taking bribes from property developers. Perhaps then, in retrospect, this particular report should not shock us. But what is quite surprising is that the evidence of corruption was ignored, for the most part, and Fianna Fáil were re-elected to the government in 2007 despite questions being raised about Bertie Ahern’s involvement in those same bribes – questions, by the way, that led to his resignation a year later.

Parochial politics at its finest. It is clear that the Irish people are happy to elect crooks, as long as the crooks keep them happy in small, trivial ways. But it’s still an illusion; the crooks take money from their pocket, keep prices high, and leave them hurting for jobs, and it’s all hidden behind the veil of government bureaucracy.


The Bust

Some economists saw what was happening in the property markets and warned that it couldn’t last. It was never going to, really – ours was not the first housing bubble in the world, nor will it be the last, and the result is mostly the same in all cases. Eventually the prices collapse, and those who have bet too riskily suffer a serious loss of equity. The Irish property developers who connived with the government and massively oversupplied the market deserve that loss – but this is not a just country, and there was no reason for them to lose all that money when their pet politicians could make it all go away.

Anglo Irish was their bank. When the bubble burst and demand vanished overnight, the developers were left with thousands of empty and unfinished properties that they had borrowed heavily to build. These are the ghost estates; acres of houses and apartments built on the assuption that they would be sold for an astronomical price, and with that money the loans could be paid back. Without demand, they became worthless, while the developers were still on the hook for the loans. On the other side of the equation were the investors who were now owed vast sums of money – who were they? We already know the names of four of the Golden Circle – the ten businessmen who bought a 10% stake of Anglo Irish using money raised from its own shares – and we know they had connections to Fianna Fáil. They were not alone.

Money lost on both sides, and it seems that the property developers were listed among both. They had a problem, one that would need billions of euro to solve.

Enter Fianna Fáil, the major player in a “political system infected by those in power favouring friends”. They had a history of corruption. They had links to the Golden Circle. Sean Quinn, who was among one of Anglo’s biggest shareholders, was friends with Bertie Ahern. They had control over the budget of Ireland, and all they needed was an excuse.

Everything that has been done to Anglo has been for one purpose – to keep the bank afloat, no matter what it will cost the nation. It’s all a matter of misdirection and obfuscation; start small, say it’ll only cost so much, say this is the best option because it’ll ruin us to let it fail. Then little by little, make the public accept that which would be unthinkable. The final debt for Anglo’s life support may be €33 billion or more, which we probably will never get back. That debt includes a loan of €11 billion given to Anglo Irish based on highly risky property loans – collateral that the European Central Bank could not accept, which forced the Central Bank here to step in to save it.

Do not believe, not even for a second, that this was necessary. Gavin Sheridan noted the following quote on his blog, taken from Ireland’s note to the European Commission regarding the recapitalisation:

Anglo Irish Bank is a focused business bank with a private banking arm. The Bank provides business banking, treasury and wealth/management services. It is not a universal bank and its stated strategy is niche rather than broad market. Each of its customers deals directly with a dedicated relationship manager and a product specialist.

Niche. Oh, yes.


The Recovery

€33 billion is a huge number. After a certain point, it all becomes unreal and fantastic. Steal a tenner from a man in the street, and his rage knows no bounds; steal 2% of his wages every month, and he may not even notice. It’s all about taking from the places where no one will look, or where people will grumble the least without realising the extent of the damage to their lives. It may be legal, but that doesn’t make it right.

€33 billion, the cost of Anglo Irish alone, is more than the total revenue that the government will get from tax this year. The current national debt stands at €84 billion. In order to keep the country going this year alone, the government will have to borrow €18.5 billion from somewhere. As more money is poured into the dead bank, and more money is borrowed simply to run Ireland, that debt will accelerate out of control. The Budget for 2010 announced savings of €4 billion, but that may not be enough; the debt still rises, as making savings of €4 billion will not balance out borrowings of €18.5 billion. With a higher debt comes higher interest payments on that debt, which must be paid, leaving less money to run the country and a greater need to borrow. The government seems to be unwilling to stop giving money to Anglo Irish, so the cost of running the country must be reduced somehow – and that means bleeding the ordinary citizens of Ireland dry.

Of course, it won’t be the politicians who suffer. Even after the wage cuts for civil servants in the Budget, Brian Cowen is being paid €220,000 a year. Ministers are paid roughly €190,000 a year. The entry level salary for a TD is €92,000, with the average being €110,000 – expenses not included, of course. We can only dream of being so well off, so pampered, for a job that is essentially part-time, especially when (as Bock has pointed out before) there’s no qualification requirements other than being able to convince enough people that you’re a pretty swell guy who can do things for them. And after that, of course, bloody-minded tribalism takes over and the people will re-elect you simply because you’re ‘their lad’.

Smoke and mirrors. It always comes back to that. It’s ok to screw over your country because, well, you’re helping a few friends who helped you out a while ago. You can’t say no, because his father always drank with your father, and sure didn’t he donate a load to the party and he’s not asking for much in return. And you can hide it just enough so that no one will say anything, or you can spin it so that no one will listen, and anyway you’ll be getting a pension at the end of it and the money won’t be your problem anymore. This is Ireland, isn’t it? Half of the sheep admire you for getting away with it, and the other half don’t care. All you have to worry about are the few friends who did you a favour, and then another, and then another, and didn’t ask much until now, and where’s the harm in selling a little more of your soul for a lot more money?

Someday soon, there won’t be any more money left to take. In the cold, hard light of day, bereft of smoke and mirrors, it’s all a game of numbers on which the crooks of Fianna Fáil are gambling the economic future of generations of Irish citizens. Forget Ivor Callely; he’s another distraction. Watch the actions of NAMA, and the politicans who swore it was the best thing to do. Watch the wealthy elite who have a stake in Anglo Irish.

At the next general election, do not be fooled again.

Categories
Politics

Why Bertie Ahern Liked Irish Builders In Britain

Could I ask the members of the public not to laugh while evidence is being given?

That’s what the chairman of the tribunal said today when Bertie Ahern was giving evidence.

Why did Alan Mahon feel the need to say that? Simple. People in the public gallery were breaking their arses laughing at Bertie’s evidence.

In many ways, despite all I’ve said, the whole thing is pathetic. Bertie Ahern is pathetic, this man of the people who feels inferior and in his manner of speech tries to hide his origins. Everyone makes much of Bertie’s working-class speech patterns, yet nobody comments on his attempts to disguise the way he talks. Nobody remarks on the strangulated pronunciations, or the vowels he unconsciously introduces to hide his Dublin origins. It’s embarrassing in its failure as much as in its intent.

We all know the sort of character Tom Kilroe represents. A young emigrant to Britain in the hard times at the age of 15 with no education, he rose to foreman with some English builder. He set up his own company at 28 and through ruthlessness combined with a merciless pursuit of money, he became wealthy. He bought racehorses to legitimise himself, and perhaps a few paintings or a wall of books to disguise his illiteracy and insecurity. He tried, unsuccessfully, to hide his Roscommon accent. He bought a helicopter. Despite all his money, he knew he was an ignorant man, and he hated it.

Is it any wonder that Bertie Ahern would be impressed by such men, or that he would seek to associate with them? These Irish builders in Britain were all wealthy, all ruthless, all crude and unlettered. Bertie wouldn’t have felt intellectually stretched in such company, because these men had no interest in books or culture, just as Bertie doesn’t, and yet these men were no fools. These were intelligent men, devoted to making money, but without finesse and with little interest in the finer things of life. Building-site ganger-men made good, and flying around in helicopters. Men who never read a book in their lives. Bertie’s kind of people.

And this is why we have the unedifying spectacle of our finance minister going to Manchester United matches and handing bundles of money to some gobshite builder from Roscommon.

Bertie thought that was a classy way to do business, and I’m afraid to tell you that this is the man who defined Irish political life for the last decade.

Categories
Politics

Bertie Ahern: I Won It On A Horse!

What does Bertie Ahern have in common with every low-life drug-dealer, scam artist, con-man and crook when asked to account for his money?

He won it on a horse.

So at last we know. Bertie, why didn’t you tell us this all those months ago and we wouldn’t have given you such a hard time?

Oh Bertie, Bertie, what the fuck were you thinking? Why didn’t you just tell us and we’d have understood?

Poor old Gráinne Carruth would have been spared all the trauma of cross-examination, and I wouldn’t have been calling you a slithering fucking liar.

Oh dear God.

Enough of this nonsense. Today’s Mahon Tribunal is one of the funniest yet.

You might remember all the money that went into Bertie’s accounts, which Bert claimed was just cash he lodged from his pay cheque and dig-outs, and cash he found up a drainpipe, and a bag of money a crow dropped on his head one day while he was cleaning the chimney, and a pillow-case of used bills he found in a public toilet and a vast inheritance he got from his uncle Vladimir, a Russian oligarch. And a load of swag that grew on a bush in his garden.

But definitely none of it was converted from sterling. Not a penny. None at all. And Bert allowed Gráinne Carruth to go into the witness stand, and undergo stern examination in his defence. (This was the secretary who received less salary in a year than Bertie lodged in his children’s bank accounts). And then the nation gasped as Gráinne broke down and admitted that, yes, it was actually sterling after all, and Bertie had kept it in his safe.

So how did Bert explain all this to the tribunal today?

Well, you see, he was planning to buy an apartment in Manchester and he changed various amounts to a total of about £12,000 with a businessman called Tim Kilroe. (Tim, incidentally, joins a long list of dead people Bertie dealt with in these matters. People who can no longer talk for themselves).

Bert wanted to build up a pile of English money, you see, to buy this apartment. Now, I’m sure you’re wondering why he couldn’t just go to an English bank with his Irish money, but that’s not how things happen in the Bertieverse. Unlike you and me, Bert had to be constantly going around with bags of cash. Unlike you and me, he couldn’t just save up and take out a fucking mortgage. Christ, no.

Anyway, he kept this money in his safe, and eventually decided not to go ahead with the purchase, so he got Gráinne to put it in the bank for him.

When asked, he agreed that this money must have been part of the £15,450 he lodged in his own account and the accounts of his two daughters. That came to about £12,000.

And the rest of the money?

Horses, said Bert.

What the fuck? said the Tribunal.

Horses, Boss. I musta won it on the horses.

Fuckin horses! Bertie had enormous wins on the gee-gees. Damn!

That explains everything.

____________________

Also: Bertie Ahern

Categories
Politics Scandal

Mahon Tribunal. What Does CODR Stand For?

Just a thought.

There was much mention of this famous CODR account relating to Bertie’s HQ.  This was one of the mysterious accounts through which money ebbed and flowed without anyone being too clear for what purpose or from where it came.
Now, previously people were making comparisons with the name of the Fianna Fáil constituency organisation, Cumann O Donovan Rossa, and speculating that perhaps somebody had called the account CODR in its honour, or for more sinister reasons, to cause confusion.

But suppose CODR doesn’t stand for Cumann O Donovan Rossa.

In the same way that B/T stands for Bertie/Tim, not Building Trust, perhaps CODR really stands for c/o Des Richardson?

Wouldn’t that be a good one?

Categories
Politics

Mahon Tribunal Witness Des Richardson Suffers memory Lapse

You remember our old pal Des Richardson, don’t you? Of course you do. I wrote about him here and here and here.

Well, Des has been giving evidence to the Tribunal, and today he was asked about those 24 public-spirited businessmen who clubbed together to buy Bertie’s HQ house for him.

Who were these people? the Tribunal wanted to know.

And Des looked around him, and then he looked up at the ceiling, and then he farted, and then he looked out the window, and then he scratched his head, and then he farted some more, and then he held up his innocent hands in defeat and smiled like the little angel that he is.

Do you know what? I can’t believe it. Des couldn’t for the life of him remember any of these benefactors. Isn’t that incredible? Not if his life depended on it could Des remember one of these people, even though Des’s own name was on the legal documents relating to the purchase. That’s hard to believe, isn’t it?

Very hard to believe. Very hard indeed.

Incredible, in fact.

Categories
Politics Scandal

Bertie Ahern and the Mahon Tribunal. He Hasn’t Gone Away, you KNow.

Everywhere you look, the world is full of generous businessmen, but in North Dublin, you can’t fling a crooked stick over your shoulder without hitting one of them.  Take for instance the 24 anonymous businessmen who got together and contributed a pile of money to buy a house that was never placed in trust for the Party, but retained instead for Bert’s exclusive use.  What a great, great bunch of fellows.

Dominic Dillane, the chief treasurer for Bert’s constituency office doesn’t know where the money came from to buy Bert’s house.  Neither does Liam Cooper, the senior treasurer of the Dublin central constituency.  Liam also has no idea how much money was in three bank accounts associated with Bert’s constituency office, how much was paid in or how much was ever taken out.  In fact, until the Tribunal started to ask questions about them, Fianna Fáil didn’t know the accounts existed at all.

When the tribunal asked Mr Dillane what account the money came out of to buy the property, he replied, We’re still getting that off the banks.

This is horseshit.  They’re not waiting for any information from the banks.  Dillane has been trying to pass this nonsense off as an honest answer to a question, and he has failed dismally.  Of course, this is the man whol told the tribunal that records relating to one of the accounts were destroyed on the advice of an accountancy firm, which is also plainly a load of old bollocks.

Liam Cooper, in a Father Ted moment, said he would have asked one of the trustees about the accounts when preparing his report to the agm.

I might say for example to Tim Collins, What’s the story with the B/T account? . . . and he would say Grand, it hasn’t been touched or whatever, and I’d say That’s grand.

Judge Alan Mahon wondered if Cooper knew about all the money in the accounts.

Not really, now that I think of it, said Cooper, … we had no need to query anything because everything went extremely well.

You think that’s all bollocks?  Wait till you hear this.

Joe Burke, the man in charge of the three accounts, was supposed to be a trustee of St Luke’s, and oversaw the accumulation of cash in the accounts for the upkeep of the building.

What was he a trustee of?  Well, he was supposed to be responsible for holding the building in trust for Fianna Fáil, but there’s a bit of a problem.  The problem is the fact that no legal trust was ever created.

If there’s no trust, there can’t be any trustees.

And if there are no trustees, and no trust, then the building can’t be held in trust for anyone, can it?  So who’s the real, beneficial owner?  Who did the generous businessmen think they were buying the house for?

Then of course, there was all the money that had to be lodged in the accounts for maintenance of the building, and the odd fact that none of it was ever used for that purpose.  It just never worked out.  Joe took out £20,000 in August, 1994 to get some damp-proofing done, but then he decided not to bother with this vital job, because it was too big.  So he put the money in his safe for a couple of months, as you would, and finally left an envelope containing £20,000 (British) in Bert’s office.  This was to be collected by Tim Collins to lodge in the infamous B/T account, but Joe didn’t tell the person he handed the envelope to what it contained.  Joe didn’t ask for a receipt.

Here, he probably said.  Have a bag of feathers.

Whatever about not getting the damp fixed, Joe had little hesitation in handing £30,000 from the account to Bert’s girlfriend for the purchase of a house. This loan was paid back earlier this year when the tribunal started asking about it.  And strangely, Joe never told Bertie about this loan.

Now look.  How much more of this bollocks talk are we expected to swallow?

Why is there no trust?

Who really owns the house?

Who paid the money for it?

How much was paid into all these accounts by anonymous but incredibly generous businessmen?

Do they think we’re all fools?

_____________________

Also on Bock

Bertie Ahern

Categories
Dishonesty Scandal

Bertie and Tim’s B/T Account. Do They Think We’re Complete idiots?

What does B stand for?

Bastard?  Bollocks? Bullshit?  Bagman?  Baloney?  Bewilderment?  Bluster?  Bandit?

Yep: all of the above and many more.

What does T stand for?

Trickery?  Theft?  Treachery?  Two-faced?  Twaddle?  Twisted?
…….
Enough!!

Enough of this bullshit!

Tim Collins gave evidence to the Mahon tribunal today about the infamous B/T account.  Remember?  The account where the “B” definitely didn’t stand for “Bertie” and the “T” definitely, certainly, without question, didn’t stand for “Tim”.

This was the account, as I told you here, that paid for the house Bertie’s girlfriend bought (though poor Bertie knew absolutely nothing about it).  The B/T account.

Tim Collins would have you believe that B/T stands for “Building/Trust”, which is what  he renamed it after the Tribunal started to take an interest in his dealings.

Definitely not Bertie /Tim, and it doesn’t matter that Tim set up another account jointly with Des Richardson, calling it what?  That’s right: the D/T account.  I suppose that stood for Demolition/Trust.

Tim had no problem leaving B/T as the title of the Bertie account until January: two months ago.  Isn’t that amazing?  An account is called B/T for fifteen years, but when a Tribunal of Inquiry starts to take an interest in it, suddenly its name has to be changed to something else.  Something more believable.

Astonishing!

Even more astonishing is that a huge loan (enough to purchase a house) from this B/T account to the Prime Minister’s girlfriend remains unpaid for fifteen years, until, miraculously and coincidentally, all the money is handed back at about the same time the account is renamed Building Trust.  About the time, in other words, that the Tribunal starts to ask hard questions.
Hmmm.

I see.
Do they think we’re complete fools?

Let’s just have a quick look at that backslash.

Building/Trust.

Are we to believe that Tim, who set up the account, is so illiterate that he’d write Building/Trust instead of Building Trust?  To claim that B/T stands for Building Trust is nonsense and an insult to our collective intelligence, but of course, insulting the electorate’s intelligence is something Fianna Fáil have brought down to an art anyway, so why am I surprised?

The term Building/Trust just doesn’t work, and it especially doesn’t work when used to describe an account that Ahern had complete control over, though it was set up by Tim Collins.

Oh come on!  Why won’t he just acknowledge that B/T stands for Bertie/Tim and stop insulting our intelligence?

Where did all this money come from, that Bertie had no knowledge of, but that nevertheless found its way into his girlfriend’s possession?  Well, nobody’s sure.  The Fianna Fáil treasurer has no records of transactions: not even the transactions involving conversions from British Pounds to Irish.  Nor does he have records of the substantial cash payment made from the account.   Tim, on the other hand, thinks he knows where the money came from.  He asked the Tribunal to believe that some of the £65,000 in the account was raised from golf classics, and he stuck to that story until it was pointed out that the first golf classic took place five years after this money was lodged.

I suppose everybody must have paid in advance. That must be it.

Who owns the account?  Well, there’s another strange thing.  You see, even though Tim and Bertie claim it’s a Fianna Fáil constituency account, there are no documents whatever to make any legal connection between the party and this account.  There is, however, significant evidence that Bertie had complete control over it and was therefore the beneficial owner.  In fact, so remote is the account from the party that the treasurer never once mentioned its existence or any of its transactions to the party members for seven years.

I don’t think the Tribunal believes Tim.  In fact, I think the Tribunal is inclined to take the same line as Judge Judy: Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining.

Tim, I don’t fucking believe you either.  Tim, you’re not only taking me and my fellow citizens for idiots, but you’re also taking the Tribunal for fools.
And ?  Give us credit for a small bit of intelligence.
______________________
Previously:
http://bocktherobber.com/2008/03/the-kindest-most-trusting-and-most-innocent-of-them-all#mce_temp_url#

Categories
Politics Scandal

Bertie Ahern, Celia Larkin and the Loan

UPDATE

Do They Think We’re Idiots?

========================

Original post.

It certainly looks like an act of generosity, doesn’t it?

A kind-hearted politician takes pity on a staff member in trouble. The staff member’s two elderly aunts risk losing their rented home of sixty years, but just in the nick of time the politician arranges a loan of £30,000 to cover the cost of buying it for the old ladies. The money comes from his constituency account, so nobody loses out, and it’s all a discreet, private transaction between employee and employer. Thank God the elderly women are saved.

It’s easy to see how people would be uncomfortable with the Tribunal, isn’t it? What will they be asking about next? Do they want to see the old ladies thrown out at the side of the road? And anyway, wasn’t it Fianna Fáil’s business?

Well, no, actually.

Not when it turns out that the staff member was the politician’s life partner.

Not when Bertie refused for days to disclose this person’s identity to the Tribunal.

Not when it turns out that the staff member still owns the house.

Not when it turns out that the loan was only paid back three weeks ago after the Tribunal started asking about it

Not when the loan remained outstanding for fifteen years: to most people, that would look more like a gift than a loan, but that’s not for me to say.

So. Where are we?

Well, we seem to have a loan on highly preferential terms to a woman with whom Bertie would soon share another house

Not a stranger, or simply a staff member, but his partner in all things, financial and otherwise.

You see, this loan was made on terms that no bank would offer. This was a loan that was to be repaid “on demand”, whenever Bertie’s constituency organisation needed it back, which as it turned out wasn’t to be for fifteen years. They just seemed to get on fine without this money — enough cash to buy a house — which had been lent to Bertie’s life partner, who used it to purchase a property which she still owns. And though they’ve subsequently separated, Bertie and Celia were very much together at the time.

But what of the account from where the loan money came? Well, this account was set up in 1989, around the time Bertie was beginning to receive unsolicited donations and dig-outs from every quarter, much to his bewilderment. The fund’s purpose, Bertie said, was to provide a contingency fund should his offices need refurbishment. Strange then, that although ‚ €150,000 was subsequently spent on the offices, there seemed to be no need to call in the loan to Bertie’s girlfriend.

The account was opened by his supporter, Tim Collins, who named it “B/T”. Clearly this couldn’t possibly have stood for “Bertie/Tim”.  They insisted it stood for “Building/Trust”, which is what it was renamed recently, after the Tribunal took an interest in it.  But how do we account for the backslash?

Let’s set/up a building/trust fund, in/case we/need building/repairs. After that, let’s all/go for a/pint. Anyone see my feckin/anorak?

In Fianna/Fáil, you’re never/far from a backslash.

So there you have it. This is what the hard-hearted, evil tribunal is asking:

Who really controlled the funds in the account?

Who really benefited from it?

Where did the money come from in the first place?

These are not unreasonable questions to ask a former Finance Minister who is now our Prime Minister. After all, a country needs to be sure that its top politicians, and especially the head of government, aren’t in anybody’s pocket.

These are fair questions, you might conclude. The kind of questions that need to be asked in a functioning democracy, in spite of Bertie’s complaints about intrusions into his privacy.

Not to mention his attempt to limit the Tribunal, for some reason best known to himself.