Tag Archives: mahon tribunal

Weekly Drawing Challenge – Through

In yesterday’s post I used this phrase:

“Let me present Batman – the Dark Knight, Thor – the Thunder God, and Robin – the Guy Who Looks Good On Christmas Cards.”

In the first draft (yes, I do edit this stuff, even if it doesn’t look like it) between Thor and Robin I had “Bertie – the Disgraced Liar”. I took it out in the end because most of you that read this aren’t from Ireland and so wouldn’t understand it, and because it was a pretty feeble attempt at political satire in any case.

On Thursday a Tribunal of Inquiry into corruption in our planning system found that our ex Prime Minister Bertie Ahern had lied to it about large sums of money which he received, firstly when he was Minister for Finance and then when he held the most powerful position in our land.

Most of us knew this, of course. The evidence that he gave to the Tribunal was funnier and more imaginative than anything I ever written. He explained two lodgements of £22,500 and £16,500 as loans (or “dig-outs”, as he called them) from his friends because they felt he was hard up after his marriage break-up, although he had over£70,000 in cash at the time. He said that he was at a dinner in Manchester after being at a football match, was asked to say a few words and the listeners were so impressed that they had a whip-around and presented him with £8,000 sterling (had this been a fee for speaking he would, of course, have had to pay tax on it). He denied that he ever received any other sterling, ever, and when it was pointed out to him that lodgements of £15,500 to accounts belonging to himself and his daughters were definitely sterling he suddenly remembered that he had won it betting on races in UK.

$45,000 was lodged into one of his accounts. He simply denied that he had ever received dollars from anyone.

This odious little toad, by the way, was our leader when the property bubble which has led to the destruction of our economy began. He was on first-name terms with the chairman of the bank that collapsed most spectacularly, and for which we (population 4 million) have to pay out a promissory note debt worth €3.06 billion (€3,060,000,000) before next Friday.

Several people I know have lost their jobs. Our company had to impose pay cuts on all of us and let 25 people go.

Some of my children will probably have to emigrate. I may one day have grand-children that I see only once a year or so.

Ahern chickened out of facing the voters in the last General Election, where his party was massacred. That party began moves this week to expel him (something never before done to a former leader) at a meeting to be held next Friday. He chickened out of that too, by resigning from the party last night.

He is through.

My attempt at drawing him captures little of his smirk, of lips that were so quick to tighten into a thin line of repressed rage whenever he was asked a difficult question. About the only thing that I’ve captured is his almost cylindrical head, so like the buckets of cash with which he ran his life.

So no jokes today, just a venting of my contempt for one of the most self-serving, money-grabbing, deceitful creatures to ever infect politics in our country.

A recent challenge, which I never got around to doing, was “Distorted”, so I’m using today’s post to cover that too.

But it’s not my drawing I’m talking about.

Accountants – like Indiana Jones, but wilder

The Institute of Chartered Accountants should give some sort of award to Bertie for services to the profession. He has changed the image of the accountant for ever. You thought they were boring, didn’t you? Dull, conservative, finickity, penny-counting, soulless automatons. People whose idea of fun is a good weekend at home with the Sunday Business Post (well who the hell else buys it? The last thing I want to spend Sunday doing is reading about work).

But no, it turns out that they are spendthrift, happy-go-lucky souls with no interest whatsoever in money. And our Bertie epitomises these cheery men-about-town.

Not for him the restrictions of the cheque book – no, he believes in dealing solely in cash. You may have thought this method of transacting business was the sole preserve of burger van owners and guys who want to tarmac your driveway, but in this new world the accountant also believes that putting your money in a bank and maybe making interest on it is vastly over-rated. Leave it in a safe in your office, and never under any circumstances count it. More conservative souls might think that this is fraught with danger, since in the event of fire or theft (and remember, this is Dublin’s Northside inner city we’re talking about) not only do you lose your entire savings, but can’t even tell your insurers how much you’ve lost. Of course it’s fraught with danger, which is why Indiana Ahern embraces it – he laughs at danger!

Imagine the thrill of handing money to people and telling them to lodge it for him, but not counting it before he gave it to them, or asking for the lodgement slip when they got back. What were the odds of every one of them being as honest as, well, him, bearing in mind that there seem to have been so many of them that he can’t remember them all? The risk just added to the spice of this merry corinthian’s life.

There was risk, too, in backing large sums of money on races in England, since he has never mentioned actually going to the races over there or acquainting himself with any UK trainers, but Indy apparently knows enough about UK racing to have accumulated a large amount of winnings. How much luckier he was over there than he ever seems to have been at the Galway races, where he has always been quick to inform the media that the bookies were fleecing him.

The old image of the accountant – rugby lover, golf enthusiast, gin swiller, boring family man – is gone . We now see them as soccer-loving, GAH-following, beer-drinking, mistress-taking, gambling gadabouts, who scorn the ideas of conservatism, frugality and ever keeping any sort of records.

Next time you go to see your accountant, tell him you’ve kept no books, that you can’t be expected to remember things when you’ve important stuff to be doing, that your staff looked after everything but if he asks them about it he’s a scumbag, and that most of your money was handed to you by passers-by for no reason that you’ve been able to fathom.

Remember to mention that things are particularly difficult for you at the moment, and hint at family problems, but make sure he knows that you don’t want any mention of them dragged into the whole thing.

Finally, explain to him that a large number of the people whom you dealt with are now dead. Leave him to decide whether that’s a hint or not.