Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A question.When is forty five grand not forty five grand?

When your Bertie Ahearn, of course. Bertie’s life is an amazing stream of coincidence, good fortune and just downright bizzare happenstance. If Freddie Forsyth were to write Bertie into a novel the critics would say that he was stretching credulity much too far.

If you think I’m being hard on poor old Bertie (just an ordinary working class guy who can’t beleive how lucky he is to find himself leader of this great nation), then let me make a list.

1. Bertie is an accountant, apparently. When the newspapers went digging a few years ago no trace of Bertie could be found at the London college he claims to have attended. Someone suggsted he had been to night school!

2. Bertie spent years signing blank cheques drawn on the Fianna Fáil leaders account when Charles Haughey was head of the party and the country. Surely as an accountant, with qualifications from a London college no less, Bertie would know that this practice was highly unorhodox and certainly ethically questionable in terms of accountancy practice. But Bertie saw nothing wrong with this. He just did as he was told by the then party leader.

3. During the late 1980s and early 1990s Bertie had no bank account! Are we expected to beleive this? He was a government minister. He was in one of the best paid jobs in the country, and we are asked to beleive that every payday he took a cheque down to his local pub, tossed it accross the bar and recieved cash for it. Pound notes!

4. During this time, he tells us, he had a large sum of cash in a safe in Drumcondra, something in the region of fifty grand. Let me put noughts on that – £50,000. That’s almost twice the average earnings of a Garda in 1994 and we are asked to beleive that he ‘saved’ all of this in about 18 months.

5. In 1994 a Manchester based business man, Michael Wall, handed Bertie Stg£30,000 in cash at St. Luke’s, Bertie’s office in Drumcondra. This money was for renovations to a three year old house just up the road from St. Luke’s which Mr. Wall was intending to buy. Bertie was, it seems, intending to rent this house from Mr. Wall after he had made good on his intention to buy the house and when all of these good intentions were done and dusted Mr. Wall was going to spend £50,000 doing the place up for Bertie to move into. Not only that but Bertie was going to spend £30,000 of his own money on more renovations to a house that he was only renting. All of these plans, it seems, were hatched before Michael Wall had even bought the house!

6. Bertie’s then patrtner, Ms. Celia Larkin, took the Stg£30,000 to the AIB on O’Connell St. in Dublin and lodged it to a bank account in her name. Why not an account in Bertie’s name? He says he had no bank account at the time but, if you are the minister for finance and you walk into a bank with vast sums of foreign currency in your hip pocket, well they are hardly going to refuse to do business with you.

7. Why would a government minister who was dealing in unusually large amounts of cash not have a bank account?

8. Bertie was going through a seperation from his wife at this time.

9. The day that Celia Larkin alledgedly lodged Stg£30,000 to the account in O’Connell St. only £19,000 in foreign currency was received at that branch. However the £28,000 and change that she lodged to the bank on that day is equal to exactly $45,000. This of course is just a coincidence as Bertie has assured us that he never, ever had any dealings in dollars. So that’s ok then.

When you think about it, it does stretch credulity just a bit.