Because, Mr. O’Neill, just to be very straight about it. Reading something on the 8th, I having to deal with in the one week the cabinet meeting, deal with the Dail, the questions and answers in the Dail, deal with a full week in the Dail. Then deal with a European Council where you get monstrous briefs over the weekend and then go to America where I went to Stanford and made a major speech to 2,500 people and then do my usual. I just did not have time. And before I got back you, with your usual efficiency and with your large amount of staff and your huge legal team had Grainne Carruth in here trying to hang her. So that’s it if you want the answer. So what I said to Mr. Dobson quite frankly, was at the very mildest a term —
And so Ahern tried to explain his evidence before PTSB found he had sterling, and after. I went to see him in action in Dublin today. To be blunt, Ahern’s story stunk of horse shit.
Ahern was asked earlier this year about Carruth in his interview with Dobbo, and the tribunal was interested in one remark.
The particular bit the Tribunal was interested in was where Ahern talks about her evidence that she had made sterling lodgments to his and his daughters’ accounts (she says she can’t remember doing it though). He says he didn’t have a chance to tell the Tribunal about the source of the sterling, because he was too busy.
But the Tribunal argued that Ahern was informed of the sterling lodgments early in March, and he had plenty of opportunity to explain them. Ahern said yes, he was made aware of the sterling lodgments, but had no time to explain them to the Tribunal – which potentially would have saved Carruth from giving evidence at all.
Then, if his whole story was not already bizarre, Ahern went further. The sterling Carruth had lodged was an accumulation of salary cheques. But he had asked his friend Tim Kilroe (now dead, conveniently), to change into sterling for him. This had ended up being £15-17k stg in cash in his safe, which was then later lodged. Though Ahern can’t remember asking anyone to lodge it. He can’t even remember having the money at all. Besides that he also placed bets on horses – including winning £8,000 on two horses in 1996. Money later lodged to his daughters’ accounts.
SO the main conflict is this. Ahern said last year that during the time he had no bank account (1987-1993), he had saved cash of about £50,000 punts. He began lodging these savings in late 1993 and in 1994 once he had bank accounts. In January 1994, he opened a PTSB account lodging money to it then, and later over the year. He told the tribunal that these lodgments were from salary, and importantly contemporaneous salary cheques. That is, these lodgments were from money he was earning in 1994. That the accumulated savings prior to 1994 totalled £50,000.
But now he has changed his story. Because PTSB have found that the lodgments were in sterling, Ahern has had to adapt his story. He says its because he forgot about the sterling. It’s more likely because he didn’t envisage documentary evidence emerging to show sterling lodgments.
So now he says he had other savings prior to opening his bank accounts. £15-17k sterling was ‘saved’ from his salary between 1990 and 1993, he says. That is on top of the £50k he already told the tribunal about. This sterling was held in cash in his safe, and would be dipped into for trips to England. But he had since forgotten he had so much sterling cash. And forgot ever lodging any to PTSB.
Another strange story was that one of the reasons he kept so much sterling cash in the 1990-1993 period was because he was thinking of investing in a property in Salford, Manchester, but later changed his mind. This was at a time when he said he had no money, and needed a digout from friends in late 1993. So why did he need a digout out from friends in 1993 to pay legal fees if he had over £70,000 at his disposal? Even if we accept £20,000 of that was earmarked for his daughters it still leaves us wondering why he needed a digout to pay legal fees, and later a digout to help with buying a house.
Truly bizarre, but I guess it’s par for the course.
Ahern looked the worse for wear. He is on the backfoot, and the questioning buildup to a crescendo will continue tomorrow.