Desperate times for Bertie

The very fact that Bertie Ahern has chosen to appeal to public sympathy in an attempt to get himself off the hook is an indication of his desperation. In his interview with RTE’s Brian Dobson, Ahern resorted to the usual excuses.

No favours were sought or given – It was a debt of honour that I will repay (sometime) – In hindsight, if I knew my daughters and I were going to be successful I would have acted differently – I broke no law – It was a relatively small amount compared to being offered millions.

The debt of honour excuse is the same tactic used by Ahern’s mentor and hero, the corrupt Charlie Haughey when he was asked to explain why he never repaid a loan to Allied Irish Banks – AIB is still waiting for payment.

In her enthusiasm to defend Bertie on Primetime, the Minister for Education, Mary Hanifin may have got herself into a spot of bother. She claimed (wrongly) that Michael Lowry had received very large amounts of money from businessmen who he didn’t know. Pat Rabbitte remarked that Lowry’s solicitors will probably have something to say about such claims.

Mary O’Rourke, adopted her most severe school teacher persona when Vincent Browne interrupted her gallant defence of Bertie with one of his famous sighs. The exchange between the two provides a good laugh.

Political police?

A special committee has been established by Fianna Fail to carry out an internal investigation into allegations that one of its councillors, Liam Kelly, has been taking drugs (Irish Times). Cllr. Kelly has claimed that he is being blackmailed on the matter.

Here’s what Bertie Ahern had to say on the matter.

“Was he snorting cocaine or was he not? If he was that’s a serious matter and the party will deal with it, the other issues are issues for the Gardai, extortion and other matters, they are not matters for the party.”

In real democracies, the police investigate allegations of illegal drug use. In Ireland, when the allegations are against a politician from the ruling party, the police apparently keep their distance.

Usual idiot talk

“If the legislature here are discussing the possibility of changes in order to legalise and regularise their position, well, you know, they’re entitled to be here from that point of view. But in a strict sense, I suppose, they’re illegal,”

This is part of what the Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern said in the US recently in defence of illegal Irish immigrants in that country.
Hypocritical Irish politicians are of the opinion that the illegal Irish in America suffer more because they are unable to come home to attend Uncle Pat’s funeral or little Mary’s First Holy Communion than the average Afghan being sent back to one of the poorest and most violent countries in the world.
Speaking such idiot talk outside Ireland is not easy for Irish politicians. They are used to operating in a corrupt state where any old guff passes for intelligent analysis.

Here’s a letter from Friday’s Irish Times that gives a good idea of the respect our politicians have earned for their profession

Madam, – Dermot Ahern is beginning to speak the same incomprehensible garbage as his namesake. How can “illegal Irish immigrants” be “entitled to be in America”?

That elected representatives of this country can spout this kind of rubbish is shameful. – Yours, etc,

DERMOT SWEENEY, Viking Harbour, Dublin 8.

Callely got half total raised in donations in 2005

No suggestion of impropriety. It is in the paper for a reason though.

Almost half of the money raised in donations by Irish politicians last year was donated to the former junior minister, Ivor Callely, who resigned on Budget Day, according to figures released yesterday by the Standards in Public Office Commission.

The total disclosed by all politicians came to €147,526, with Mr Callely receiving €69,600. Fianna Fail politicians accounted for €136,962 of the total, with Fine Gael declaring €5,824, Labour €3,740 and one Independent TD getting €1,000.

The amount raised by Mr Callely in a non-election year is more than four times the amount he will be able to spend in the next general election. The spending limit for candidates in his three-seat constituency of Dublin North Central is €25,394.

Almost half of that allocation will be taken up by the Fianna Fail national campaign, so Mr Callely will be allowed to spend only in the region of €15,000.

The former junior minister disclosed more than 40 donations in 2005 worth between €750 and €2,500, the bulk of them being individual donations made at a golf classic.

By law, individual donations valued at more than €634.87 in terms of money, property, goods or services have to be disclosed to the commission.

Cowboy planning culture

Last Friday, RTEs Five Seven Live programme reported on the “Cowboy culture’ that passes for good planning in Ireland.

Apparently, the vast majority of illegal developments are granted retrospective planning by local authorities. In the last four years Dublin City Council has given retrospective planning permission to 85% of those who couldn’t be bothered applying before they started building. The figures for Waterford and Galway are 83% and 82% respectively.

A significant number of offenders are developers, who are very familiar with planning laws, rampaging around the country, building hundreds of houses and then looking for, and getting, planning permission.

But then again, they are taking their example from our so-called leaders. In today’s Irish Times we read that former Fianna Fail minister of state, Ivor Calley is in breach of planning laws for converting a garage into a house next to his family’s holiday home which (hilariously) was also built without permission.

We can only guess what future generations will make of the massive damage done by this rampant gombeenism.

Political stooge

The late Brian Lenihan Snr. was, by all accounts, a very intelligent man. Unfortunately, by allowing himself to be used as a public stooge by Fianna Fail he was better known, at best, as a loveable clown.

On every occasion when the indefensible needed to be defended, Brian was wheeled out to tell everybody that there was “no problem’.

It seems now that Brian’s son, Conor Lenihan is happy to maintain this legacy. On last Sunday’s Marian Finucane show (43rd min.) Conor defended the on-going emasculation of the Freedom of Information Act by claiming that the new restrictions would save taxpayers’ money.

Using this logic, Conor would, presumably, be in favour of disbanding the Gardai, thus saving the taxpayer millions.

Seems it’s a case of – like father, like son.

Political joke

To cheer everybody up on these dark cold January days I will begin the year with a joke.

John O’Donoghue, FF Minister for Arts, Sports and Tourism has claimed that

‘Ireland would be a “banana republic’ if Sinn Fa©in was in Government because it still retains a private army.’

This is funny for a number of reasons. Firstly, everybody in Ireland and the international community knows and accepts that the IRA has actually decommissioned their weapons. It’s hilarious that a minister in the Irish Government is apparently completely unaware of this historic development.

Our esteemed leader Bertie Ahern should really bring his minister up to date on the matter. This is how Bertie reacted to the standing down of the IRA.

‘The ‘standing down’ of IRA units and its decommissioning of all weapons had given Sinn Fa©in the status of a legitimate democratic and constitutional party.”

So the Taoiseach thinks that Sinn Fein is a legitimate democratic party and one of his ministers thinks that the party maintains a private army that could overthrow the State.

Secondly, the Minister seems to be under the impression that Ireland is not already a banana republic.

Billions wasted every year through the incompetence and corruption of public and civil servants with no one held accountable.

Financial institutions that regularly rob hundreds of millions from their customers and the State but have never been investigated by the police principally because the same State provides them with “protection’.

The most corrupt politician in Irish history, Charlie Haughey, never brought to justice and allowed to live in luxurious retirement with the full support and fawning praise of Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern.

A health and education system that would embarrass even the most backward third world country.

A Parliament that is deservedly treated as a joke by Irish citizens and even by some politicians as evinced recently by Ivor Callely when he chose to make his case on national radio rather than explain himself in Dail Eireann.

A Minister for Justice, with the full backing of fellow politicians, who sees nothing wrong in secretly providing confidential police files to a favoured journalist in order to promote a political agenda

And the Minister is worried that Sinn Fein might damage the State??

Blowing with the wind

The was some interesting debate on the slave trade polices of Irish Ferries on Q & A last night.

Dick Roche strongly defended the actions of Irish Ferries on the same programme last September when the story first broke.

‘The fundamental issue is that hard economics have hit this company. The most important thing is to preserve these companies’

No sympathy for Irish Ferries workers there.

On last night’s programme, he seemed to have a better understanding of the ruthlessness of Irish Ferries policy. When John Bowman challenged him on his change of mind, Roche got all flustered and did what he does best – waffled.

At the time, I expressed puzzlement at the views expressed by Roche and John Waters on the matter.

‘The only thing that can be said in their defence is that neither of them seemed to understand the full implications of what Irish Ferries are planning to do.’

Obviously, Roche does not have the ability to assess such matters at short notice but he does possess that great talent common to all Irish politicians – Blowing with the wind.

Groundhog Day

The establishment of “Forum for Opportunity’, an elite club where political influence can be bought, the re-commissioning of a military parade to celebrate1916 and a standing ovation for Charles Haughey at the recent Ard Fheis, all indicate that Fianna Fail have learned nothing from the events of recent history.

Irish citizens should prepare themselves for Groundhog Day.