Monday, May 07, 2007

Irish Election Post on BertieGate

As some will have noticed I have been a bit quiet here as I have been blogging over on Irish Election. Here is my latest post.

With all the allegiations floating about Bertie it is a bit hard to remember all of them so here is what I could locate. So I will try a piece together the threads into some sort of narrative as much for myself as you lot. Starting with todays piece in the Indo. McDowell demands answers over US Cash.

TANAISTE Michael McDowell is demanding that Taoiseach Bertie Ahern fully explain a payment of $45,000 allegedly lodged to Celia Larkin’s bank account in 1994.The payment is separate from the so-called Manchester money or the stg£30,000 from Micheal Wall, Mr Ahern’s landlord.

So where would money from the US come from?

The tribunal have been investigating a trip that Bertie Ahern and Albert Reynolds took in 1994 to Los Angles. It was alleged (like everything is in this post I hasten to add) they were scheduled to meet with a US finance broker to discuss plans by Owen O’Callaghan, Liam Lawlor, Frank Dunlop and Architect Ambrose Kelly to develop a football stadium at another site in Balgaddy in Clondalkin. (From Village). Bertie confirmed the meeting in 1994 in the Dail.

In a statement released to the Sunday Independent (I found this after I found the above Dail record. They trawled I googled) in a piece by Jody Corcoran

The spokesperson said: “The Taoiseach has checked this matter. I can confirm that as Minister for Finance, Mr Ahern visited Los Angeles in March 1994 on an official visit. Mr Ahern did meet with representatives of Chilton & O’Connor Ltd, which at this time was a member of the International Financial Services Centre in Dublin. The meeting took place in Los Angeles airport.” The spokesperson added: “The meeting was organised through the office of the Consul General of Ireland, based in San Francisco. Mr Ahern was accompanied at the meeting by officials from the Department of Finance and the IDA.”

At the time the firm was retained by Owen O’Callaghan to work on the project for a stadium Neilstown stadium which was near to the Quarryvale development and planned in around 1994. I think it was going to be home of the FAI. Bertie however seems to have been against this idea. Also in 1994 in three months Owen O’Callaghan gave Fianna Fail €127,000. It was also revealed back in 2000 that Owen O’Callaghan gave 2 substantial cheques to a Fianna Fail councilor Colm McGrath over Quarryvale. From the Indo.

`I am being set up by Mount Street (FF headquarters),” he said. “There is a much bigger story out there involving some people who are now taking the high moral ground. I accept that some of it reflects negatively on me, but there is more to it.”

Another issue around the time was the Golden Island shopping center in Athlone. This was again by Owen O’Callaghan. From the Indo.

Mr Ahern met with O’Callaghan on November 10, 1994; he has said that O’Callaghan “made representations” to him about the Golden Island site. The site was designated for, and subsequently awarded, substantial tax incentives by Ahern just hours before he left office after the collapse of the Fianna Fail-Labour Government on December 14, 1994.

How ever there is nothing to suggest that this involved anything dodgy.

On the issue of Quarryvale. Village supplies this snipt.

Last November, the Planning Tribunal stated in a public hearing that it was investigating an allegation that Bertie Ahern received £30,000 in return for ensuring that Blanchardstown did not receive designation.

Tom Gilmartin has stated in interviews with this reporter in 1998 and 1999, before he submitted a formal statement to the Planning Tribunal, that he had formed a company, Barkhill Ltd, to develop the Liffey Valley site (then Quarryvale) and that Owen O’Callaghan and representatives of AIB joined the board in September 1990. He said that at a board meeting of Barkhill Ltd in 1993 Owen O’Callaghan was asked about the prospect of Blanchardstown obtaining tax designation.

According to Gilmartin, O’Callaghan, who was then his co-partner with AIB in Barkhill, left the board meeting in the AIB headquarters in Ballsbridge and made a call on his mobile phone. When he came back into the room, Tom Gilmartin said Owen O’Callaghan told those present that he was given assurances “from the horses mouth” that Blanchardstown would not get tax designation.

Tom Gilmartin, according to the Planning Tribunal, has claimed that he was told by O’Callaghan that Bertie Ahern later was paid £30,000 (€38,100) for his assistance in the matter. Bertie Ahern has vigorously denied the suggestion.

Another Claim in the tribunal again from the same Village article was this.

On one occasion, Mr Reynolds ordered Bertie Ahern to ensure that files taken from the Department of the Environment to the Department of Finance over a weekend be returned. This followed a complaint to Mr Reynolds by then environment minister Michael Smith about the movement of the sensitive tax designation files.

The Planning Tribunal has heard claims that the files were shown to a group of developers in a Dublin hotel.

Another point in the above village article is that.

The tribunal has also confirmed in public that it is investigating a claim that Bertie Ahern personally received a sum of £50,000 in 1989 from O’Callaghan in connection with the Quarryvale development.

This is similar to the allegation that Dennis “starry” O’Brien made (in fact seems the same as both 1989). Bertie successfully sued O’Brien for damages back in 2000. But why would that be brought back up in the tribunal again 7 years later? Whether this could possibly be the £50,000 that he invested in his house in 1994 is unclear and it would be high guess work to suggest any connection.

This brings us to the Michael Wall allegations. Basically this is happened From the Irish Times

Mr Wall and Mr Ahern have told the tribunal that on December 3rd, 1994, Mr Wall produced £30,000 sterling in cash during a meeting in Mr Ahern’s constituency centre, St Luke’s. Mr Ahern’s then partner, Celia Larkin, was also at the meeting. Mr Ahern put the cash in a safe.

This money along with savings Bertie had himself of £50,000 in 1994 (even though he needed a “dig out” of IR£39,000 a few months previously because of matters arising from his separation.) was invested in the house (a total of £80,000) on a house worth in the region of £108,000 that was recently built. Who owned it is unclear Michael Wall did not buy it until 1995 and Bertie did not buy it until 1997. According to the Irish Times. Bertie suggested it was to do with refurbishment costs and stamp duty issues. But Stamp duty would not have been an issue as he was buying the house. The Rates of Stamp duty in 1995 are here.


not liable











60,001 and over


So the question is what were the Stamp Duty issues? Were they his Stamp Duty issue or Michael Wall’s stamp duty issue or indeed Celia’s stamp duty issue. The £50,000 came according to Vincent Browne in the Sunday Business Post

A total of IR£22,000 from his Manchester and Dublin pals and IR£28,000 from personal savings. But he told us last September that his savings were cleaned out in early 1994 by the marriage settlement. He had used the monies received from his first batch of friends to clear off a bank loan taken to pay his legal bills, so in early 1994, he had no money. Yet, by December, he had savings of IR£28,000 on a net income of only about IR£38,000.

This was at a time when, one assumes, he was paying maintenance for his wife and children, and perhaps paying off the mortgage on the family home as well.

So that is the whole extent that I can find of the financial details of Bertie Ahern that have been mentioned in the Tribunals and newspapers if you know of anything else leave a comment. Hopefully it makes more sense to you now. But makes little sense to me.

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