Peter Hain caught like Al Capone by fucking up his financial records - is bertie Ahern going down as well ?
The St Andrews Agreement ( Gaelic : Comhaontú Chill Rímhinn) was an agreement between the British and Irish Governments and the political parties in relation to the devolution of power to Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland Minister Peter Hain, 48 represented UK Government interests and Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern, 47 those of the Irish Government.
Peter Hain resigned this afternoon as a member of the Cabinet and both his day jobs - Work and Pensions Secretary and Welsh Secretary, when his financial affairs had been examined and found wanting. His hasty resignation followed the Electoral Commission saying that it had decided to refer the late declaration of £103,000 of donations to his Deputy Leader of the Nu Party (5th out of 6 candidates - although this was before 6th and last candidate Hazel Blears had her Festive face lift).Labour .. in their words ."Following discussions with the Metropolitan Police Service and the Crown Prosecution Service, the Electoral Commission has now referred matters to the Metropolitan Police for them to consider whether an investigation should commence."
Therefore there are those in Dublin how long Bertie Ahern can manage to keep his job. A man with a chequered past - he claimed he studied at University College Dublin but they have no record of his attendance. He was however a Member of Dublin City Council 1977 - 1991 and Lord Mayor in 1986, his brother Maurice Ahern is also a Fianna Fáil member of Dublin City Council and brother Noelis the Fianna Fáil Dáil Deputy (MP) for Dublin North West since 1992 .
Bertie like his political pal Peter has money and tax problems as well, which relate to the The Tribunal of Inquiry Into Certain Planning Matters and Payments, commonly known as the Mahon Tribunal in honour of its chairman, which was established by the Irish Government on November 4, 1997.
The origins of this lengthy and very revealing and very public long running saga of bribery and corruption relating to planning in and around Dublin goes back to July 1995, Michael Smith, a former chairman of An Taisce and barrister Colm Mac Eochaidh, a Fine Gael candidate in Dublin South East in the 2002 general election co-sponsored a £10,000 reward for information leading to convictions for planning corruption.
Briefly, by the end of October last year the Tribunal had cost €69.5 million and €34.5 Mn. was recovered by the Revenue Commissioners and the Criminal Assets Bureau, according to the Second Interim Report.
The work of the Tribunal led directly to the biggest tax settlement in the history of the State. In June 2006, the Bailey brothers and their company, Bovale Developments reached a settlement worth about €25 million with the Revenue Commissioners in respect of PAYE, PRSI,Corporation Tax and Income Tax in 2006.
In 2004, Bovale was the most profitable property company in the history of the State, recording a surplus of almost €70 million. The company is no longer limited.
Lifelong and active Fianna Fail supporters, Mick Bailey (51) and his younger brother Tom (45) paid themselves (and Tom's wife Caroline) an annual salary of €5.3m and appeared at many fundraising events and can always be seen in the party's VIP tent at the Galway races and take full page advertisements in Fianna Fail's The Nation magazine.
Consideration by the Tribunal of their affairs had been hampered because of a fire at the Bailey site at Mygan Park, Finglas, in July 1998 which destroyed accounts - and this on the day before they appealed to the Supreme Court to prevent their personal affairs being considered by the Tribunal. Quite unreasonably ene of the witnesses, described the brothers as "the Mothers of Invention" to their brief and very fat cat Colm Allen.
Bertie Ahern appeared as a witness just before Christmas on 20/21st 2007. It was an appearance that provided a glimpse on a year in the life of Bertie Ahern’s quixotic personal finances. From December 1993 to December 1994, the Minister for Finance (as he then was) received for his personal use from various “friends” IR£39,000 and £38,000stg - not far off €250,000 in today’s money.
Famously he said on the first day ...“I'm not answering what I got for my Holy Communion money, my Confirmation money, what I got for my birthday, what I got for anything else, I'm not into that.”
It became clear later , as the Tribunal's silver haired brief , Des O’Neill patiently and painstakingly went through the entire chronology of Mr Ahern’s dealings with the Tribunal that there was an awful lot else that he was not answering for, and that he did not answer for a long long time.
Bertie's principal problem ( and nemesis) is a Sligo-born property developer Tom Gilmartin who has previously told the Tribunal (and anyone who would listen) that property magnate and developer Owen O'Callaghan had told him that he (O'Callaghan) had given Bertie Ahern IR£80,000 that sparked off the tribunal's investigations into the Taoiseach's finances.
Gilmartin alleged that O'Callaghan told him (Gilmartin) that money was paid to Bertie Ahern for his help with the planning for the development that became the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre.
Bertie Ahern and Owen O'Callaghan have both vehemently denied Gilmartin's allegations.
Well known broadcaster Eamon Dunphy was due to give evidence to the Tribunal tommorrow - In a private interview with the tribunal's lawyers, he is said to have told them that the developer Owen O'Callaghan told him (Dunphy) that he (O'Callaghan) had given money to Bertie Ahern.
In his interview a year ago, Dunphy is understood to have said that Cork-based O'Callaghan told him: "Mr Ahern had been bought and had taken money in the early 1990s."
This has always been denied by O'Callaghan.
Curiously Dunphy will not be appearing .... because the Tribunal cannot ...er .... find a lawyer to ...er...cross examine him.
Now as Accountancy Age report today battling Bertie refuses to resign over the mysteries of his personal finances, maintaining he has ‘nothing outstanding’ with the Irish Revenue office, following repeated calls from Enda Kenny, the Fine Gael leader (:‘This is much too serious a matter, when the Taoiseach of our country is unable to produce a tax clearance certificate and be compliant with the Revenue Commissioners.’) and Eamon Gilmore, the Labour leader to quit. Sinn Fein and their leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin have remained totally silent on the matter... there is, after all, honour amongst thieves.
In Dublin, Ahern told the press if he would quit, he said: ‘Never. I just got a mandate a few months ago so I have to see that out. Maybe 2012.’
Fine Gael this week formally filed a complaint against Ahern with Standards in Public Office (Sipo), claiming he is not tax compliant. The prime minister said he would produce a certificate of application, which was the ‘same in tax law’ as a tax clearance certificate ... er..it isn't.
Will Bertie follow Hain ...and Al Capone ... finally caught out by not keeping his accounts in order ?
It produces a pleasing symmetry that the two main players in the St Andrews Agreement will lose office for lying about their finances , watched by Gerry Adams (Gearóid Mac Ádhaimh) , 59 whose private army had lifted £25.6 Mn. from the Northern Bank and Paisley's family were so keen (letter to the MLA from direct rule Minister , Welsh Nu-Labour MP David Hanson dated October 13, 2006 - the final day of the St Andrews talks, has been published under a Freedom of Information request by ex-DUP MEP Jim Allister - who had quit the DUP over the power-sharing deal with Sinn Fein) to get approval of six matters to enrich their property developer friends as the correspondence disclosed last week detailed. (Friday, January 18, 2008 The Paisley Dynasty and the murky deals that sealed the St Andrews NI agreement - orchestrated by Tony Blair )