Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/528/3991

From The Socialist newspaper, 9 April 2008

Ireland: "The most cunning and devious of them all" finally goes

AFTER 11 years as Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Bertie Ahern has announced his resignation for 6 May this year. Even in resignation, he lived up to his description by his mentor, the disgraced ex-Taoiseach, Charles Haughey as "the most cunning and devious of them all". He had barely announced his resignation, before the Fianna Fail (FF) machine was spinning furiously. Wave after wave of ministers and TDs (MPs) were trotted out to declare that this was a "man of the people" hounded out of office by a malicious media!

Paul Murphy, Dublin

Ahern's resignation had become inevitable. The sleaze and allegations of corruption surrounding him had reached a point where they could no longer be credibly denied. His resignation is the result of mounting evidence in the Mahon tribunal (one of many tribunals set up to investigate corruption in planning matters) of the numerous large payments he received from various businessmen.

The known transactions between 1988 and 1997, including when he was Minister of Finance, amount to almost 900,000 in today's terms.

Ahern's approach has been to attempt to confuse the issue and undermine the tribunal, claiming that he received a relatively small amount of money from friends as a "dig out" after his marriage break up. He has tried to explain away the cash donations, by the incredible claim that he didn't have a personal bank account while he was Minister for Finance!

However, the evidence that has emerged illustrates the large number of donations he received and suggests that he was connected to a number of different accounts. The most damaging recent revelation was the evidence of his former secretary, Grainne Carruth, that she had lodged sterling for Ahern amounting to 15,500. This completely contradicts his attempt to explain this money as ministerial wages. This bald contradiction of Ahern's evidence was a body blow to his credibility.

The latest opinion polls indicated that this was beginning to impact on Fianna Fail's support, dropping 2%. What the Minister for Health described as "public disquiet" had developed to such a stage that both Fianna Fail's new coalition partners, the Greens and the Progressive Democrats, as well as members of FF, were beginning to feel uneasy about the potential for damaging fallout.

Real legacy

With Ahern set to return to the tribunal later in May to answer this evidence and the vital Lisbon treaty referendum now likely to be held in early June, he decided to bow out before more damage was inflicted on the government and he was pushed out.

He may hope that with his resignation in train, there will be less focus on the Mahon tribunal when he returns on 20 May. He is unlikely to be so fortunate, and will be unable to untangle the web of contradiction and confusion he has spun about these various large donations. In fact, further damaging revelations are quite possible.

Some of the laudatory comments about Ahern's eleven years in office are sickening. He is being credited in many quarters with single-handedly bringing about the 'peace process' in Northern Ireland, and with developing the 'Celtic Tiger' economic upswing, all through his supposedly brilliant negotiation and people skills.

The real legacy of Ahern and his relationship with the developers is faced by working people on a daily basis. His government has pursued a nakedly pro-big business agenda, which has resulted in huge profits for a select few, and massive problems for working-class communities.

His developer and speculator friends have made millions from new housing developments, yet the owners will pay the price for this speculation in huge mortgages around their necks for the next 35 or 40 years. They also face huge infrastructural and traffic problems as a result of planning to benefit developers rather than to meet the needs of ordinary people.

The health crisis is similarly a direct result of these pro-business policies. Ahern's government has consciously underfunded and undermined the public health service in order to push people into the arms of profiteers, many of whom are the same developers that have benefited from planning decisions.

Fianna Fail is hoping now for a "smooth transition" of power to the current Tanaiste (Deputy Prime Minister), Brian Cowen, who will take over as Taoiseach and leader of Fianna Fail. However, Cowen will not have the backdrop of a booming economy to ease his passage. Instead, he will preside over an economy that is facing serious difficulties, and can quickly face serious opposition from ordinary people.

Ahern's hasty departure anticipates the significant changes that are underway in Irish society. The "Celtic Tiger" is dead, with uncertainty about the future now facing working-class people.

In that context, the real legacy of Ahern - the squandering of the wealth created by workers during the boom, inadequate investment in public services and a planning process facilitating the developers and speculators - will come back to haunt the establishment.

Article on Lisbon Treaty: see www.socialistparty.net

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 9 April 2008:

Perks for MPs - Bonuses for the bosses - Cutbacks for us!


Socialist Party election campaign

London elections: working class alternative needed

Socialist Party: a clear difference from 'free market' policies

Exposing daylight robbery in Lincoln!


Socialist Party workplace news

NUT strike: No more pay cuts!

Defend the 4: Defend democracy in Unison

Unison health conference: Reject the pay sell-out!

Why should workers pay for the crisis?

Tube strike called off after winning concessions

Museum strike in Wales

NUJ conference

News in brief


Socialist Students

Struggle still essential

Get active and fight back!


Post Office closures

Winchester: 'We need our post office'


International socialist news and analysis

Zimbabwe: Mugabe plans to steal election

Olympic Games: Chinese regime fans the flames of protest

Ireland: "The most cunning and devious of them all" finally goes

Israel - Palestinian Land Day demonstration


 

Home   |   The Socialist 9 April 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Ireland:

triangleBrexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

triangleFighting sexism, violence and capitalism - an international struggle

triangleIrish capitalist state: rotten to the core

triangleIreland: dangerous ideas for the ruling class

triangleIreland: rail workers demand share of 'recovery'

Planning:

triangleDebate: should tower blocks form part of socialist housing policy?

triangleExtreme weather events and global warming

triangleTransport strategy: London's mayor is no visionary

Northern Ireland:

triangleBoeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangleWeakened Tories forced into Northern Ireland abortion u-turn

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: The DUP, Northern Ireland, and socialism vs sectarianism

International

International

17/1/18

Hong Kong

Stop repression in Hong Kong and China

17/1/18

Tunisia

Tunisia: explosion of protests against government austerity

10/1/18

Iran

Movement challenges Iranian regime

10/1/18

Appeal

Appeal from Iranian independent unions

10/1/18

Sweden

Sweden: School strike against deportations

3/1/18

Catalonia

Catalan elections: PP humiliated

13/12/17

Israel

Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian conflict

13/12/17

CWI

A world in crisis, ripe for revolution

6/12/17

US

Trump's tax plan: Robin Hood in reverse

6/12/17

Ireland

Irish capitalist state: rotten to the core

6/12/17

Women

Fighting sexism, violence and capitalism - an international struggle

22/11/17

US

Trump's tax attacks

22/11/17

Australia

Australia: massive yes vote for marriage equality

21/11/17

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe: Mugabe gone - but his regime remains in power

15/11/17

Minneapolis

USA: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle17 Jan Corbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

triangle17 Jan NHS crisis: under pressure from all angles - end cuts and sell-offs!

triangle17 Jan We must fight all council cuts!

triangle16 Jan Home care workers to strike

triangle15 Jan Carillion crisis: Demand action to save jobs and services

triangle12 Jan Outrage against 'monster block' plan

triangle12 Jan Mini-strike wave continues and intensifies

More ...

triangle23 Jan Bristol North Socialist Party: 'You can't have capitalism without racism' - was Malcolm X correct?

triangle23 Jan Cardiff West Socialist Party: How the Poll Tax was beaten

triangle24 Jan Caerphilly Socialist Party: The Carillion scandal

triangle24 Jan Cardiff Central Socialist Party: Carillion collapse - Watershed moment for public services

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2