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Thread: Cowan's defence of Ahern at the Humbert School

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    Default Cowan's defence of Ahern at the Humbert School

    Brian Cowan’s defence of Bertie Ahern at the Humbert School in Ballina is curious in regard to its timing and to its selective nature. It comes just three weeks before Ahern is due to answer some crucial questions before the Mahon tribunal, principal of which is how a Minister for Finance earning approximately £50,000 a year could lodge to his account in a short time between 1993 and 1995 upwards of £120,000, despite having to maintain two separate houses for himself and his separated wife and daughters.

    Cowan argues that after ten years the public understand that Ahern “is not motivated by personal gain” Ahern, it is generally agreed, presents an image of a man who lives modestly, with none of the ostentation of his mentor, CJ Haughey. But, power, like wealth is a huge attraction for a politician and Ahern has always relished being at the top table. He sat at Haughey’s feet for years and would have to be blind and deaf not to recognise the extent of the corruption going on around him as scores of back slappers turned up with their grubby pounds to secure planning permissions or designation of building sites to avoid taxes.

    Ahern himself contributed to the general lowering of standards by signing dozens of blank cheques for Haughey fro the Party’s Oireachtas fund. At the same time, he was aware of thousands of pounds being contributed to individuals for Party funds which were never passed on to the Party.

    Among the lodgements made to Ahern’s account in December, 1994 was a sum of £30,000 which, he claimed had been brought to his office by a Manchester businessman in sterling in a brief case. The money was lodged in the bank a couple of days later, except that bank officials told the Tribunal that the largest amount of sterling lodged that day was just under £2000 and that Ahern’s lodgement was “probably in dollars”.

    All of these matters raised legitimate concerns for the newspapers who pursued them but got no satisfactory answers. Cowan obviously feels they should not have been pursued and that Ahern was hounded by journalists as if suspicion surrounding the financial affairs of the country’s leading politician should not be allayed.

    There was never any question of Ahern’s personal probity until he himself disclosed last September that he had taken thousands of pounds from a group of friends for his own personal use. He claimed the money was a loan but thirteen years later had not repaid the money until the issue became public knowledge. Several of his friends were appointed to the boards of State agencies for which they had no qualifications except that they were “his friends” as he told the Dail. At the same time he disclosed that he had been given a gift of £8,000 by a group of businessmen in Manchester. Their names were not disclosed and there was no explanation for their generosity.

    Despite the widespread concern aroused by these events, Cowan says the public showed an innate sense of fair play which is willing to hear all the information before reaching a conclusion. Ahern, however, has had several opportunities to explain his position in the Dail, on television, in newspaper interviews and through his legal advisors in the Tribunal. Up to now, most of the explanations have simply added to the confusion. Most decent minded people find it inconceivable that their Taoiseach would allow a cloud of suspicion to hang over his financial affairs without coming forward with irrefutable evidence that he has not been guilty of any wrongdoing and that the allegations of receiving backhanders from building speculators are without foundation. Cowan does him no service by pretending it is all a newspaper conspiracy to damage Ahern.

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    I haven't seen the speech, but I suspect it is a clever tactic by Cowen to kick - start his leadership ambitions. Being seen as loyal and supportive to Bertie now pre-empts any accusations of disloyalty should he make a move after the Taoiseach gets tangled up at the Tribunal.

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    Text of speech is at http://www.fiannafail.ie/article.phpx?t ... &nav=Press
    I'm not suprised it's on FF website; it is basically a party political broadcast. Why the Humbert school should be providing a platform for ppb's I'm not sure.
    "Your vision is right, my vision is wrong, I'm sorry for smudging the air with my song"

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    Quote Originally Posted by jerryp
    I haven't seen the speech, but I suspect it is a clever tactic by Cowen to kick - start his leadership ambitions. Being seen as loyal and supportive to Bertie now pre-empts any accusations of disloyalty should he make a move after the Taoiseach gets tangled up at the Tribunal.
    Correct and right.

    Defend the indefensible in as loud, boorish and bullying way as possible is how you impress your fellow FF party members.

    Cowen has it all in spades.
    There are times when you are simply required to be impolite. There are times when condescension is called for!
    - Aaron Sorkin writing as President Bartlet to Obama, NYT 21/09/2008

    You can't build a smart economy based on dumb decisions.
    - Richard Bruton 18/12/2008

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    <Mod>Moved to Fianna Fáil.</Mod>
    Heavy words are so lightly thrown.

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    I had a look at the speech. There is very little defending of Bertie in it. It was the least he could say to be consistent with his previous analyses of the election.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZhouEnlai
    I had a look at the speech. There is very little defending of Bertie in it. It was the least he could say to be consistent with his previous analyses of the election.
    " No person should have to go through what Bertie Ahern endured in those weeks and we can learn a lot from the public’s balanced and reflective response. After ten years, the public were not going to be rushed into making a judgement on the Taoiseach. They know him pretty well by now and they understand that he is not motivated by personal gain. They have seen the progress made under his leadership. He has never been a specialist in the soundbite approach to politics, but he has more than made up for this in the substance of his achievements.

    The formation of a new Northern Executive and the events at the Boyne were reminders to the public of his truly historic contribution to the building of peace and reconciliation on this island. At Westminister they saw how he represents us with distinction as a statesman, showing how ours is a confident, forward-looking, European democracy which will not let age-old barriers get in the way of lasting progress. The testimonies of Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and George Mitchell in our broadcasts resonated because their sentiments were shared by a public which knows that the choices made by Bertie Ahern as our Taoiseach, and not chance, stand at the heart of much of what we have achieved in the last decade."

    He's fairly lashing it on there !

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    Brown-nosing of the highest order, the very people he has robbed and sought to make fools of-the taxpayers, will have their say on the Bert through Judge Mahon and I would hold no great store by anything Clinton or Blair say not quite altar boys, that pair.

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    Default Defending the indefensible.

    Brian Cowen is creating a smokescreen around Bertie Ahern's finances by talking about selected leaks from media. There is plenty of factual information in the public domain about Ahern's financial dealings. This information has been read into the record of the Mahon Tribunal. Bank statements don't lie. There is plenty of factual information available to the public that is a cause of great concern.

    Less than one year ago we had no idea that Ahern was receiving numerous payments from various businessmen, that bank officials were transporting large wads of cash from his safe in Drumcondra to his bank accounts and that many of the donors were appointed to State Boards.

    Ahern's explanations for these dubious dealings should be a cause of great concern to the Tanaiste. Brian Cowen is an honest man and should not allow himself to foolishly defend the indefensible.

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    Whivh begs the question of what he did with all the back handers and dig outs he got over the years? He must have a massive balance on his bank account and how many accounts does he have and are any of them in Ireland?

    Who controls a Taoiseach's finances as surely he can't do that himself due to the conflict of interest it would give rise to - then again it is FF and this is Ireland.

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