Monday, March 24, 2008

A Lack Of Confidence

When he was Minister of Finance, Bertie Ahern warned the Irish people in a manner so subtle that it went unnoticed until now. He had no faith whatsoever in the Irish pound. Why else would his salary as minister be paid out in sterling?

Evidence given to the Mahon Tribunal indicated that some of Mr. Ahern's lodgements to a building society account were, in part, his paychecks. He would hand the checks over to his secretary and she would make the deposits for him. Sometimes she cashed the checks. Sometimes she put money into accounts for the Ahern daughters.

The branch manager recently testified that the very same teller who handled the Ahern deposit was also handling a sterling exchange immediately before. That would suggest that Mr. Ahern's checks or cash or what have you were pounds sterling, which had to be exchanged for Irish pounds before the transaction could be finalized.

An Taoiseach has hinted that he will address this unusual turn of events in the coming weeks, perhaps not waiting until his return to the Mahon Tribunal in May.

Will he dare to admit what is becoming more and more evident -- that he had such little confidence in Irish finance that he had to be paid in British pounds? Was he ready to shoot across the border in the event that the entire Irish economy collapsed in 1994? What other explanation could there possibly be?

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