So Bertie Ahern, as Taoiseach, rings up AIB executive Jim McNamara in advance of his appearing at the Mahon Tribunal. Between January and March, Ahern and his office called McNamara on a number of occassions.
Sandra, who apparently works for Ahern, calls Mr McNamara from Dublin Airport, as she was going on holidays. She said Mr Ahern was looking for information on certain transactions, in particular four foreign exchange transactions. These very transactions were being inquired into at the very same time by the Tribunal.
It is worth reading the transcript from today. McNamara is challenged by counsel for the Tribunal on why he did not ask the Taoiseach the obvious question: were the amounts lodged sterling amounts?
McNamara had apparently been criticised by the Tribunal for the lack of his inquiry into the transactions.
The Tribunal rightly asks if in fact Ahern was seeking not to find out whether foreign exchange transactions had taken place, but whether the bank had records of foreign exchange transactions taking place.
Crucially, the Tribunal made no enquiry of Mr Ahern prior to his interview on April 5th in relation to foreign exchange transactions. So why was Ahern asking Mr McNamara about foreign exchange transactions before the Tribunal had even asked Ahern about them?
Sandra Cullagh, on her way to her holidays, specifically asked if there were records of a transaction – not if there were transactions.