Knives out: Fianna Fáil ready to give beleaguered Bertie the chop
He’s long since lost trust of the nation and now he’s about to lose the trust of his own as Fianna Fáil are readying themselves to expel Bertie Ahern from the party.
The shady financial dealings of the former Taoiseach were dramatically exposed by the Mahon Tribunal yesterday following a 15-year investigation that cost the Irish taxpayer hundreds of millions of Euros.
As a result of the startling revelations and the exposing of the massive corruption that went on within the party, Fianna Fáil have little choice but to take decisive action against Bertie, despite the fact that, startlingly, he was still going to extreme lengths to defend his name last night.
Commenting on the impending moves to dismiss Ahern last night, Fianna Fáil leader Micháel Martin – who was more than happy to defend Bertie when he was leader of the country – said: “In the manner in which he received this money while holding high office and in the giving of rejected evidence to a sworn tribunal Bertie Ahern betrayed the trust placed in him by this country and this party.
Martin added that although “the central allegation against Bertie Ahern” was not sustained, the rest of the evidence emerging from the tribunal relating to the former Taoiseach was “extremely serious”.
Fianna Fáil party officers held a meeting last night which lasted over two hours, during which two members abstained when Martin asked if everyone was in agreement with the proposal to expel the former Taoiseach. The Ard Comhairle will vote on the recommendations at a meeting next Friday.
Bertie, not surprisingly is not the only one in the dock as Martin also proposed the expulsion of former Fianna Fáil minister and EU commissioner Pádraig Flynn and former councillors GV Wright, Finbar Hanrahan and Don Lydon.
Martin labelled Flynn’s acceptance of a €50,000 payment made to him by property developer Tom Gilmartin as “reprehensible” and added: “That behaviour on his part was a disgrace and betrayed the trust that the Irish electorate had placed in him.”
Whether people will or actually can take him seriously or not anymore, Bertie came out fighting in an effort to defend his name last night, just minutes before Martin went public on his desire to kick him out of the party for good.
In what was a long and seemingly entirely self-absolving statement, Bertie said: “I have never accepted a bribe or a corrupt payment.”
Michael Martin is expected to elaborate on his own and Bertie’s comments at a press conference this morning, by which stage his intention to kick out his old buddy from the party is likely to become patently clear.
It was an eventful day with the whole Mahon Tribunal yesterday, but if you want a reminder of all that went on in easily digestible bites, click here.