Some hilarious on-board commentary from driver Niall O’Connell and and co-driver John Liston as they try to overtake a slow car on a narrow straight road in the Irish National Rally Championship. It’s on YouTube via MotorSportMad.com.
As Bertie Ahern’s fate unfolded yesterday, I had this nagging feeling that I had seen it somewhere before. Then I remembered this old episode of Thomas the Tank Engine, in which Ringo Starr’s commentary is a surreally perfect allegory for the morality tale of Thomas the Tribunal versus Bertie the Bluffer.
Number 10: His visionary insights
- “With hindsight, we all have 50-50 vision.”
- “We haven’t been able to do all that we can.”
- “The cynics may point to the past but we live in the future.”
- “The grass roots, or the rank and file, are now made from fibre optics.”
Number 9: The Drumcondra Mafia
- Digout Des Richardson, who gives false invoices to stockbrokers for political donations then gives the money to Bertie Ahern as a personal gift.
- Tim Nice-but-Dim Collins, the serial bank-account-opener who uses initials like B/T and D/T for his accounts, and who told the Tribunal that “figures aren’t my forte.”
- Joe Burke, who, along with Tim Collins, supposedly lent Ahern’s girlfriend £30,000 of Fianna Fail money, for a house, without Bertie knowing.
- Paddy the Plasterer, who Joe Higgins suggested should avoid Ivor Callaly’s house, as Callaly was in enough trouble already with the painters.
Number 8: His ethical philosophies
- “We’re not gonna hang anyone on the guillotine.”
- “I never condemn wrongdoing in any area.”
- “There is a code of ethics whereby those who have been elected to the House try to remain elected. That is the code of ethics in this House.”
Number 7: His most secretly truthful answer ever
- When Ahern was first asked about the allegations of receiving between €50,000 and €100,000, he told journalists that a lot of the report was correct but “the figures are off the wall.” This, of course, was true, because he got some of the money “off Michael Wall”.
Number 6: His peacemaking abilities
- “There have been disputes between fractions.”
- “We shouldn’t upset the apple tart.”
- “I don’t think it helps people to start throwing white elephants and red herrings at each other.”
- “At present, I have my hand in a whole lot of dykes, trying to keep them in and keep people together.”
Number 5: His tribunal evidence generally
- He has a magic briefcase that turns random uncounted bundles of Irish and English money into large exact round-sum dollar and sterling amounts.
- He once lodged £50,000, then took it out again, then converted it to Sterling, then kept in his safe for a few months, then converted it back to Irish money, then re-lodged it, in two separate amounts.
- He believes that, in 1995, he gave somebody £30,000 to buy sterling with, but he can’t remember who he gave it to.
- He bought his house from a philanthropic bus driver who attends dinners but doesn’t eat the dinners, and who had already given Ahern the house in his will anyway.
Number 4: His opinion of Charles Haughey
- “I think Charlie Haughey is basically a very good man and unfortunately he got into things like the lifestyle, and the bills caused him to do some things that I feel very strongly about.”
Number 3: His social life
- “I’ve never met a socialist in my life, and if I do, I’ll tell you.”
- “I can’t say that I have met any homosexuals.”
- “I could certainly drink a fair few pints of Bass and be capable of driving.”
Number 2: The quadruple negative
- “It is not correct, and if I said so, I was not correct, I cannot recall if I said it, but I did not say, or if I did, I did not mean to say it, that these issues could not be dealt with until the end of the Mahon tribunal. That is not what Revenue said.”
- Am I in the Dail? Say that I can only tell the Tribunal.
- Am I at the Tribunal? Say that I can only tell the Dail.
- Am I somewhere else? Say that it’s all smoke and daggers.
- Have they stopped asking questions? Go and watch Man United.
- Are they still asking questions? Tell the High Court to make them stop. Then go and watch Man United.
On this week last year (Mar 31 to Apr 6, 2007):
- How much petrol could you buy for the same price as a litre of bottled water?
- In a survey of teenagers in the midlands and north-east, what was the average age that they first got drunk? And how many said they had been drinking on at least six of the previous 30 days?
- What was unusual about the decision that a former Circuit Court judge was to receive a lump sum payment from the State of €57,000, and an annual pension of €19,000?
- Who arrived in Dublin and said: “I have to shake this man’s hand. I’ll give him a grip,” and who was he talking about?
- What happened to former Fianna Fail Councillor, Michael Fahy, the day before he was due to begin a 12 month jail sentence for misappropriating funds from Galway County Council?
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I’ve just noticed a very clever question from Tribunal barrister Des O’Neill, which exposes yet another plot hole in Bertie Ahern’s fairytale of Drumcondra. This one involves Tim ‘Nice-but-Dim’ Collins, the serial account opener who claims that figures are not his forte, contradicting a key element of Ahern’s sworn evidence. I’m sure this exchange will feature in the Tribunal’s final report. >>> (more…)
On this week last year (Mar 24 to Mar 30, 2007):
- Which Green Party TD called for an end to ‘crass cronyism’ in the way appointments are made to public bodies, and added that if there is to be a change in Government, ‘there has to be a change of culture too’?
- Which Green Party TD, a few months later, lost his seat in the General Election and was then appointed to the Senate by Bertie Ahern?
- What proportion of Irish businesses did Office of Tobacco Control report were in breach of the smoking ban?
- What proportion of public houses did Office of Tobacco Control report were in breach of the smoking ban?
- Which former Fianna Fail Minister said on RTE that, after twenty years in office, he now had to ‘actually find where the Aer Lingus desk is and join the queue like everybody else’ at airports, and also ‘look at things that I didn’t know existed, which are monitors which show your arrivals and departures and the times and the boarding gates – that is all totally new, a totally new world.’
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