Wednesday, August 8, 2007

on passing by- again

So the election is over and the wrangling and horse trading is in progress. It was starting to look like a Fianna Fail, PD and Green coalition. The wise old heads of Fianna Fail were doing an absolutely stupendous job of back pedalling, explaining that all their boogie man talk about the Greens was probably a little bit over the top and sure aren’t they getting on just great now. At the time of writing it now appears that neither Fianna Fail or the Greens are able to compromise enough to get an agreement which would stick. Given Fianna Fails historic lust for power it is quite possible a deal could still be hammered out. As the fella said, a week is a long time in politics. I am just hoping that my favourite Ministers, misters Roche and Cullen, won’t be left out in the cold. Such a comeuppance would be a travesty. Well , wouldn’t it?
Voting patterns certainly threw up some strange results. Mr Roche went from having a surplus of over three thousand in the last election to a position where he was unable to claim his seat until the fourth count. In the West, Gerry Crowley was only able to muster five or six dozen votes from the people of the Rossport area, despite all his high profile campaigning on their behalf. The poor Sinn Fein candidate only received four votes, so not even all the Rossport Five could be bothered to vote for him.
Beverly Flynn was re elected but her tenure in Leinster House could be extremely short lived. She owes RTE about two million in legal fees and seems fairly blasé about it. In light of the fact that this is all taxpayers money RTE seem determined to get paid. If she is unable to pay up then the prospect of bankruptcy looms large. If she is declared bankrupt then she is automatically out of the Dail.
The PDs were almost annihilated, from eight seats down to just two, but it seems that Bertie wants them in the next government, perhaps as insurance.

Then again things could all change very quickly if any more strange revelations issue from the tribunals. Recent reports on Berties mattress money throw up more and more questions and the answers become more and more outlandish. Questions also need to be asked about AIBs role in the whole debacle.
In 2005 the Mahon tribunal asked Berties legal representatives about five large lodgements he had made between 1993 and 1995. These lodgements came to IR£116,481 and were way and above what Bertie could have earned in the period. When AIB were asked to provide records of the lodgements they said that they were all I cash and no records were available. The tribunal accepted that if this was the case then the paper trail had fizzled out and no further investigation was possible. In an ironic twist Berties own financial adviser told the tribunal that the lodgements included foreign currency, in particular an 8,000 sterling amount given to Bertie by some Manchester businessmen. The tribunal had already been suspicious of the uneven amounts of some of the lodgements, and suspected further foreign currency deals.
On placing a legal order on AIB, surprise surprise but it seemed there were records after all. This is where the whole thing starts to get both complicated and bizarre.
One of the lodgements, according to Bertie, was for 30,000 sterling which he got off his landlord. But according to AIB they only took in 1900 sterling on that day and anyway the 30,000 could not be equated to the actual IR amount lodged, given the exchange rate at the time. It did however equate exactly to 45,000 dollars at that days rate. Coincidence?.
Another lodgement was supposed to be the 8,000 from Manchester and IR16,500, but again the amount lodged could not be worked out at the exchange rate of the day. it would however have been the exact amount you would have received if you had lodged exactly 25,000 sterling. Coincidence?.
Two further deposits equated to exactly 30,000 sterling . In light of Berties original statement that he had almost no dealings with banks and preferred to deal in cash, and his statement that the only foreign moneys he received was the 8,000 sterling the whole thing is getting curiouser and curiouser. Perhaps there is actually some proper explanation for all this money. If so surely we are entitled to be told about it. If it was all above board then surely an explanation at the very start would have spared both Bertie and us the drip feed of revelations over the past few months.
If and when it is all sorted out I hope the tribunal has some searching questions for AIB, especially why it had to take a legal order for them to admit to records and transactions which they had earlier denied.

Well the weather seems to be picking up again. It looked for a while like we were not going to get our share of the global warming. Unfortunately the grass and the weeds have decided its time to let rip and show us just how fast they can grow. The lawnmower is now reminding us how we forgot to get it serviced last year. The dawn chorus is getting earlier and earlier. The kids are on countdown to the summer break. It’s a great time to be in Ballymore.
All for now. Mike Edmonds.

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