Wednesday, April 02, 2008

And Then He Came To His End

The evidence coming out of the Mahon Tribunal painted a grim picture.

Money floated through Bertie Ahern's constituency. In suitcases. In envelopes. In trouser pockets.

Where did it come from? Gifts from friends that became money meant for the constituency that became salary checks that turned out to be sterling notes. Money that was loaned to Celia Larkin to buy her auntie a house. Money that was coming and going while Bertie Ahern was the Minister for Finance.

An Taoiseach will step down at the beginning of May. He did nothing wrong, he's said, but things don't smell fresh and clean either. With members of the Opposition ready to pepper him with questions about the sterling transactions that were passed off as salary checks, Mr. Ahern decided that he had best make an exit now and leave on his own terms.

He'll be remembered for his tenure, riding the Celtic Tiger to prosperity. He'll be remembered for his work on the peace deal in the north. Ultimately, he'll be remembered for the shady financial dealings. His official portrait will be painted with broad strokes of corruption and bribery, with a patina of personal greed.

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