‘Thanks a million, big fella’

Daniel Finn writes about Irish politics in the wake of the ‘No’ vote

Bertie Ahern’s evidence soon took a melancholy turn when he appeared before the Mahon Tribunal of Inquiry into Certain Planning Matters and Payments after resigning as Ireland’s taoiseach. ‘I was out working, out doing my job as a political leader of this country, working my butt off,’ he said. ‘Not trying to make other than my own income and the few sums of money that I got from others. And then I end up with all of this. That’s the story of my life.’ He also claimed he had won some of the money in question betting on horses. The laughter that erupted from the public gallery suggested that the stock of goodwill which had helped him ride out the controversy for a time had finally been exhausted. As an accountant, Ahern should have realised that this explanation for his failure to provide any documentation about these ‘few sums of money’ would be greeted with incredulity.

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