Is Bertie Ahern just a dumbass?

In an interview with the paper that published stories relating to a leak from the Tribunal, Ahern has this to say:

“I find it all more bemusing than anything else. Mr Gilmartin has made a series of completely bizarre allegations and what he has said has nothing to do with me or my friends helping me out. All of this is a million miles away from Quarryvale. I never got a penny from O’Callaghan and that is well known but the tribunal seem intent on doing a cradle to grave trawl of my finances,” said Mr Ahern.

“If you are asking me is the tribunal a strain, it’s not on me personally but it is hurtful to see my family and friends have their private affairs aired in public solely because they are associated with me. It was frustrating and painful to me and my loved ones to have information sensitive to our family thrown into an election campaign, and also leaked in September 2006.”

The Taoiseach said he had been encouraged by so many people in all walks of life who told him they were disgusted by what had happened. “I am a resilient person and in public life you learn to take the knocks and I’ve also enjoyed great support from my colleagues and the public at large who I think recognise that I was going through a difficult personal time surrounding my separation. I am lucky that I had good friends who helped me out.”

I’ve been reading Tribunal transcripts now for some time. I can’t count the number of times it has been explained to Mr Ahern how the Tribunal examining his accounts related to bribes – one would have thought it is fairly logical. But he still doesn’t seem to get it. So too Willie ‘confirmation money’ O’Dea.

1. Mr Gilmartin’s allegations are not bizarre.
2. What he said has everything to do with you.
3. It is intimately connected with Quarryvale.
4. It is not well known that you never got a penny from O’Callaghan.
5. The tribunal is investigating your finances in the relevant timeframe.
6. You brought your loved ones into it.
7. Padraic O’Connor was not a good friend, nor Barry English.

Actually, strike that. Bertie Ahern is a dumbass.

I’ll let Judge Mahon do the explaining. Again. Oh and Ahern listens, and agrees:

I’ll try and explain it. The evidence the Tribunal has from Mr. Gilmartin is that he was told by Mr. O’Callaghan that sums of 30 and 50,000 pounds had been paid to you. Mr. O’Callaghan denies saying it and he denies aying it and you deny receiving it. But that prompted necessarily the Tribunal to, as it has done in similar instances involving other witnesses, in this and other modules. It necessarily prompted the Tribunal to look at your personal finances. When the Tribunal looked at your personal finances it sees the lodgements that we’re talking about. And that necessitates the inquiry and the level of inquiry that has been conducted since. That is the basis for the probing of your finances.

In relation to the more recent questioning of Mr. O’Neill and the issues surrounding the events in the bank in December of 1993. It has always been a possible scenario, as far as the Tribunal is concerned, that you yourself have told the Tribunal that the — that it was your intention on the 23rd when you instructed Mr. Murphy in the bank to prepare the documentation which would allow you open an account some days later. That your evidence to the Tribunal and the information given by you to the Tribunal always has been that you weren’t then aware that friends were going to club together and give you money some days later. You were completely, you were completely ignorant of that plan which was then being hatched by your friends, so to speak. And that what you were intending to do on the 23rd in relation to the SSA account was to deposit money from your 50,000 odd savings.

And so that’s the evidence as we — that’s — that’s your evidence. We have to probe the possibility, and it’s not a hypothesis, the possibility that you were in fact aware on the 23rd, of the money that was going to be given to you by your friends. And that’s an issue that the Tribunal has to probe and reach a conclusion about ultimately.

In relation to the 14th of December. You have clearly provided very strong evidence indicating that you, as a matter of probability, weren’t in the bank on that day but there is still remains the possibility. And I’m only suggesting it’s a possibility, that on instructions from you or contact from you, which doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to physically attend the bank, Mr. Murphy was preparing documentation on the 14th for you to open an SSA account. And in that, again, you were conscious that you had savings. And if your evidence is correct that you intended initially to open an SSA account with your savings, there’s no — there’s nothing wrong about having reached that decision on the 14th. And conveying in some way other than physically visiting the bank that this is what you wanted to do. So that’s the backdrop as best I can explain it at four o’clock.

Actually, Des O’Neill does a good job too, and Ahern goes along with it:

Q. 2 Mr. Ahern, in this second phase of the inquiry in the Quarryvale II Module, you will be questioned in relation to certain savings and lodgements which were made to your accounts between 1993 and 1995. You are aware of that?

If I might outline the background of your present attendance. It stems from initially contact made with you on the 15th of October 2004, by the Tribunal seeking a narrative statement and discovery of financial records arising in the context of an allegation which had been made by Mr. Tom Gilmartin that he had been informed by a developer, Mr. Owen O’Callaghan, that you had been paid a sum of 50,000 pounds in 1989 and 30,000 pounds at a date some time prior to 1992, in the context of Mr. O’Callaghan’s developments; a matter which you have denied and he, Mr. O’Callaghan, has denied at all times, isn’t that so?

A. Correct.

Q. 3 And as a result of that inquiry made of you, we heard in your last testimony that you responded by providing a narrative statement and a process of discovery of documents was engaged in as between you and your solicitors and the Tribunal and its legal team, isn’t that so?

A. Correct.

Q. 4 And in the course of that it became apparent that you had not operated any bank accounts between the years 1987 and 1993, encompassing the years in respect of which it was alleged that payments had been made to you by Mr. O’Callaghan, isn’t that so?

A. That’s so.

Q. 5 There were, however, documents available from the period at which your normal banking was resumed at the end of 1993. And that documentation was produced to the Tribunal and analysed. And it became apparent in the course of that, that in the first year or so of your banking transactions, the lodgements to your account represented a proportion of approximately three times your net income at the time, isn’t that so?

A. That’s correct.

Q. 6 And I think this led to correspondence passing as between the Tribunal solicitors and you, and the explanation was provided for the difference between the funds lodged and the income earned, explained in a report provided by Mr. Des Peelo, a tax advisor and accountant whom you had engaged for the purpose of advising you in relation to your financial records, is that so?

A. Correct.

Q. 7 And in the body of that report, which was provided to the Tribunal on the 20th of April of 2006, it was indicated that the monies lodged to your accounts comprised, firstly, the cumulative savings which you had maintained from a period commencing in 1987, and running up till 1993, of approximately 50,000 pounds, probably a little more, isn’t that so?

A. Correct.

Q. 8 In addition, there was a receipt of two goodwill loans from two separate groups of your friends, which were made in December 1993 and in October 1994, totalling some 39,000 pounds, isn’t that so?

A. Correct.

Q. 9 And in addition to that, an amount of approximately 8,000 pounds being the equivalent of approximately 8,000 pounds Sterling which had been received as a donation following a Manchester dinner which you had attended in the year 1994, isn’t that so?

A. Correct.

Q. 10 And I think in the first phase of examination of you earlier in September, the focus of examination was in respect of the foreign exchange elements of certain lodgements which were made to your accounts and accounts of Ms. Celia Larkin at the time, isn’t that right?

A. Correct.

Q. 11 And to a limited extent, it may be necessary to cross over on one or other of those lodgements but this particular inquiry at present is focused on the savings and loans aspects of the monies which were received by you, you understand that?

Now, I think that I outlined briefly to you the explanations or rather the individual components of the monies which were lodged to your accounts. And I think it is the case that all of these funds, to one extent or another, were related in the explanation furnished to the marital separation of yourself and your wife in 1987, and/or to the subsequent legal proceedings which gave effect to a legal separation of yourself and your wife in and about December 1993, isn’t that right?

A. Correct.

Q. 12 If we look to the savings of over 50,000 pounds which were made, the explanation for this is given as being that there were bank accounts in existence prior to 1987, which were joint accounts of your wife and yourself and upon your separation in 1987, you did not use those accounts because you were conducting in effect, a separate existence from her at that time, isn’t that so?

A. Correct.

Q. 13 As regards the first of the monies that was taken out by way of loan, this was the AIB bank loan taken out in December of 1993, this is related to the legal expenses or discharge of the legal expenses that followed upon the conclusion of those legal proceedings in November/December of 1993, isn’t that so?

A. Yes.

Q. 14 And in relation to the first of the goodwill loans, that is the sum of 22,500 pounds, that was attributed by its donors as being a gift to meet the legal expenses that they understood you to have incurred in those proceedings that I’ve just mentioned, isn’t that right?

A. Correct.

Q. 15 As regards the Manchester dinner contribution, the contribution was intended to assist you in your financial affairs following upon that separation and those proceedings that I have mentioned, isn’t that right; in relation to the Manchester money?

A. Yes.

Q. 16 And the second payment from friends made in autumn of 1994, was intended to assist you in relation to the acquisition of a dwelling house, stemming from the fact that your previous family home was no longer in your ownership as and from the conclusion of your legal proceedings.

A. Correct.

Q. 17 Isn’t that right? So that it follows from what I have just said that to some extent it will be necessary in the course of today’s examination to touch upon your matrimonial separation and to that extent, I can inform you that these inquiries are being made of you not out of any purient interest but because each one of the financial transactions that I just outlined, is tied back to or connected with your marital separation, you appreciate that?

To that extent, Mr. Ahern, you may take it that I will not be asking you any questions in relation to the cause of your matrimonial separation or to any detail which arises from the court proceedings themselves or anything which took place within the legal proceedings that were conducted in 1993.

What exactly do you not get, Mr Ahern?

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