Bertie - the Minister of Finance with no bank account?


It is going to be complicated when you look at the finances of man who had NO bank account from 1986-1993. This was due to the fact that he was going through a divorce and he had a joint bank account with his wife. Being an honorable man he wasn’t going to put his money into that account. He took the decision to not open a bank account at all. In the meantime he managed to save up £50,000 IEP by 1993. This meant he could’ve bought a house for that in pure cash. Didn’t his ‘life partner’ buy a house in the area the following year for just over £40,000 IEP. Who is he? No one other than Patrick Bartholomew "Bertie" Ahern.

Paul McCartney should have brought Bertie in as a consultant on his recent divorce proceedings.
With this £50,000 Bertie contemplated putting it into a house that he was renting from another friend – Micheál Wall – a Manchester based developer – along with £30,000 he received from the landlord, Mr. Wall himself. Ultimately the Minister of Finance, decided against spending his own money on the renovation of a house he was renting. You can listen to the exchange between himself and Vincent Browne in relation to this matter here.

Glad to see that the Minister for Finance made the right decision in the end. I’ve rented a lot of places in my time, and I’ve done a bit of accounting, but I never thought of it as a shrewd investment to help the landlord out with the costs of renovation.

More recently in evidence a secretary at St. Luke’s appears to be suffering from the collective amnesia that is rampant beside the Tolka. She does not remember handling sterling cash, yet records revealed that she had lodged £15,500 of the Queens currency mostly to Bertie’s account.

New evidence comes to light daily of a very tangled web when it comes to Bertie’s financial matters. The Taoiseach had previously sworn that the money going into this account was from his pay cheques. It would appear unlikely that the Minister’s of the Irish state were being paid in sterling cash at the time.

Judge Mahon said in particular reference to Mr. Ahern’s accounts….
 “Because of the lack of source material and records relating to these payments this exercise has turned out to be a painstaking and very slow and frustrating process.”

How correct the right honorable Judge is.

Let’s look at a little more of the convoluted financial trail. We now introduce a gentleman called Tim Collins. He was responsible for two accounts, the B/T account, and the D/T account.

The B/T account operated from the Irish Permanent (IP) office in Drumcondra with the address for the account being the branches address. This was the account where Celia Larkin received a loan of £30,000 IEP to buy her Aunts house. This was a ‘humanitarian act’ and Bertie knew nothing of the loan despite sharing a bed with the lady at the time. This money was paid back in 2007 along with interest as if it had rested there all the time, by Ms. Larkin. The effort to repay this loan only appears to have materialised after the Tribunal had made inquires around the account.

Sterling money was being lodged into this account also and the manager of the IP at the time thought that B/T account stood for Bertie /Tim. Tim Collins rejects this idea and says that he never remembers lodging Sterling to the account. His defence in terms of it being used for buildings comes from the fact that he took out £20,000 in August ‘94 to be used to stop a wall at St. Luke’s ‘sinking’ possibly into the Tolka. The money was to be picked up by Joe Burke (a man who is now in charge of Dublin Port Authority as he was a perfect fit for that position given his experience as a builder who renovated pubs!!) But Joe didn’t pick it up, the work was never done and the money was lodged back into the account in October of 1994. Poor Tim didn’t even bother checking if the money was picked up or not.

This account was busy. A lodgment of £19,000 apparently came from a golf outing held by Dublin Central FF. The only problem with this explanation is that the inaugural Golf outing only took place a couple of years later.

Since 1995 this B/T account B/T has had no transactions. It’s had a name change to Building Trust/House Committee’ in 2007 and it still has a balance of €47,803. Legislation was introduced in 1995 stating that all political donations had to be lodged to a constituency donations account, the affairs of which are reported to the Standards in Public Office Commission.

At the same time Tim Collins operated another account called the D/T account and this time it stood for the Des (Richardson) and Tim account so you can see why there was some confusion about this at the tribunal.

In 1993 Bertie received a whip-around of £22,500 IEP to help with his separation expenses. Part of that was a £5,000 donation by NCB stockbrokers for Mr. Ahern’s constituency expenses. It wasn’t seen that way by Bertie or by Des Richardson (FF Chief Fund Raiser) who provided a false invoice for this amount.

In this period that we are covering, Bertie Ahern went from being a Minister of Finance, to being leader of Fianna Fáil (FF) and in opposition.

Then the FF party won the general election and formed a coalition with the Progressive Democrat’s. He was back in power but this time as Taoiseach. This is what he said in reference to the McCracken tribunal in the Dáil at that time "It is quite unacceptable that a member of Dáil Éireann, and in particular a cabinet minister and taoiseach, should be supported in his personal lifestyle by gifts made to him personally."

One knows that the man who runs the country is leaving himself open to allegations when he conducts his private financial affairs in such a manner. A number of the people who offered him a ‘dig-out’ in the past have ended up on state boards. To Joe Burke’s example mentioned above, add the names Des Richardson, David McKenna, and Jim Nugent. Bertie’s response to this is was in an interview in September 2006 to say they were appointed ‘because they were friends.’

People get the government they deserve, apparently, so we must really deserve no better. It would appear that he now admits taking money from friends but for this he granted no favors. He only happens to be a man who has a vote on all the new legislation that comes into effect in this land since 1977. At this stage if Bertie Ahern told me Gin was a depressing drink, I’d down a bottle expecting to arrive at a never before experienced pinnacle of ecstasy.

A.C.Grayling a famous philosopher visited Dublin and took in a trip to Mahon at Dublin Castle whilst he was here. He reported “the tribunal seemed to me a great testament to Ireland. Mr Ahern was a testament to politicians." Now there’s a man I can agree with.