Since the line being given by Fianna Fail is that we should await the report of the Tribunal, let us cast our minds back to 2002, and the publication of the Tribunal’s Second Interim Report. The report dealt with the first five years of its investigations, from 1997 to 2002. During that time it investigated the Gogarty Module, the Century Radio Module and the Brennan/McGowan module.
The report can be read in full at the Mahon Tribunal wiki.
It is interesting to watch the reaction to the report. First, let’s look at a report on Ahern’s dealings with the corrupt Ray Burke, and what Ahern did or didn’t know about Burke taking €2.25m in bribes during his 30 years of political life. This is from PrimeTime, September 29, 2002.
Ahern has yet to really answer those questions. Almost six years later.
Next, let’s look at the panel discussion. In it, Mary Hanafin is challenged by Mark Little on the veracity of Ahern’s statements – sounds familiar. John Gormley hits the nail on the head during the discussion, but clearly he has lost his mojo since 2002. “That was then and this is now,” he might say. Coincidentally the discussion revolves around taking a £30,000 cash donation – also sounds familiar. Joan Burton is succinct also, but I’ve edited her out for now because the video is too long for YouTube.
PJ Mara is also mentioned – a guy who was Director of Elections again last year, despite having forgotten to tell the Tribunal of an offshore bank account, and failing to cooperate with the Tribunal. Oh and then there was that little matter of Mara getting a ‘digout’ from briber Oliver Barry and one Dermot Desmond during the 1980s. Poor Mara fell on hard times – sounds familiar. I suppose we could call it the Mara defence.
We have to ask ourselves, what was done following the publication of the Second Interim Report. Who was prosecuted? Who resigned? What was the reaction? If the answer is ‘feck all’, then what can we expected after the publication of the next report?
And what of Ahern himself? Fast forward to 2003. It is not the first time he has made contradictory statements, or misled the public. A year later he is dealing with the tax evasion of Michael Collins TD – and that thorny issue of tax clearance certificates is again raised. Oh and then there was Denis Foley, the other FF TD tax evader. And Ray Burke, the corrupt politician. So many contradictory statements, so little time.
PrimeTime goes through them on September 30, 2003:
On a trip to New York, Ahern said: “I can’t recall any member of the Fianna Fail parliamentary party not having a tax clearance certificate.” Is that so, Mr Ahern?