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Go on, they’ve all done it, pal — all the greats of Irish history, Eamon de Valera, Erskine Childers, er, Mick McCarthy...
Yeah, all that stuff I said about the Revenue being cool with the whole not having a tax cert thing? Yeah, completely wrong! What am I like, eh?
That bloke from Manchester, Norman Turner, the guy who wanted to turn Phoenix Park into Las Vegas? Yeah, when I said I didn’t really know him, what I meant was I sorted a passport for him — while I was minister for finance and the day after he gave $10,000 to my fundraiser Des Richardson! Fancy forgetting to mention that when those deadbeats were implying all that stuff about dollar transactions, moody money from Manchester and casino consortiums? Sometimes I even amaze myself!
And remember that endless cursing I did over Judge Mahon snooping around my bedroom and asking too many questions? Didn’t mean a word of it! He’s a lovely fella.
In fact, I put down a Dáil counter-motion saying how much I’d like to go for a pint with him. Straight up — I’m mad like that, me!
And thus you too could get a passport to Bertieland where nothing is quite what it seems.
Sleaze? Please! It’s all water off a lame duck’s back as the Taoiseach proved as he arrived in rude health at Dublin Castle yesterday.
Unusually, it wasn’t to answer questions over the latest amount of money to turn up unannounced in one of his myriad of bank accounts. No, it was Ahern the statesman who had the future of Europe clasped in his paws via the Lisbon Treaty referendum.
But on his way in to address a convention of Euro-nerds, the Taoiseach did a drive-by Bertie to nail those nasty Blueshirt bullies putting it about there was something iffy regarding his lack of passport control.
The Taoiseach even evoked the memory of Ireland’s former soccer manager Mr McCarthy to ram his point home that you don’t need to be born here to get the paperwork.
As he mentioned Captain Fantastic’s family background, Mr Ahern was no doubt fantasising about his own Saipan moment when he can finally tell that nosy Judge Mahon exactly what he thinks of him and his poxy probe — in the succinct and crisp manner Roy Keane did as he exited South Korea in 2002.
Though in Bertie’s case it’s not so much the boys in green that matter, but the boys with greenbacks.
Mr Ahern was on a roll and rather over-egged the explanation pudding with a reference to Paul McGrath, or to give him his full name Oooh, Ah, Paul McGrath, who achieved Irish citizenship through his mother — and not, as some northsiders still strangely believe, because Nelson Mandela was in fact Oooh, Ah, Paul McGrath’s da.
Mr Ahern is perfectly correct to state it is no big deal for a TD to speed up a passport application. The problems arise due to the fact he previously failed to mention this connection to Mr Turner, a connection which neatly links trigger words like dollars, donors, Manchester and casinos in the public mind.
Bertieland is a strange little country of which we hear much, but know hardly anything about for sure.