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Could there possibly be a littlebit of Bertie in all of us?

To be fair about it, a former leader of Fianna Fáil told the truth once; and perhaps the truest statement ever issued by any political leader in history — “He’s the most skilful, the most cunning, the most devious of them all”.

Charlie Haughey’s political nomenclature, describing the man he knew only too well, deserves now to become Bertie Ahern’s political obituary.

Ahern will, of course, remain in profound denial. But can this victim of Bertie make something clear, for the historical record; Bertie Ahern said on leaving the Taoiseach’s office that he had “Done no wrong or wronged no one”.

Well, Bertie, I say you wronged me. As a survivor of this failed political entity called Ireland, once and wrongly described as a ‘republic’, I am left to pick up the pieces of all the wrongdoing inflicted on ordinary decent people by you and your friends.

Perhaps the most challenging finding in the Mahon Report is the observation that the corruption presided over by Haughey and Ahern was not challenged because there was not enough pressure from the electorate to combat it.

On one level this is a cop-out, blaming the rape victim for the rape, etc. But on further examination I have to conclude that Haughey, Lawlor, Flynn, Burke and Ahern represented a character trait in the Irish population that needs to be irradiated. Essentially, there is a little bit of Bertie in all of us.

The most sickening aspect of the greed of these men is that they encourage a general contempt for moral and correct behaviour within the broader public administration.

Too many people in our public service have taken the example of their heroes in politics and acted to extract from the State, rather than contribute to it. The ‘culture’ around planning entered Fás and financial regulation.

Every branch of public administration was affected by this cancer of corruption, fathered and advanced by Haughey and Ahern.

Bertie Ahern, you did so much wrong, and wronged more people than you will ever realise.

Declan Doyle




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