Ahern apologises to the Nation

I see that Bertie Ahern has apologised to the Irish people for accepting "loans" and "gifts" from rich Businessmen while Finance Minister in the 1990's.

"Nobody is infallible or perfect," he told the Dáil.

Fine Gael, Labour and the Greens launched a blistering attack on the Taoiseach claiming "This Taoiseach is still the great evader, still the great evader."

Blue Shirt leader Enda Kenny said the Taoiseach's combined apology and defence harked back to a culture espoused by disgraced politicians such as late Taoiseach Charlie Haughey and former minister Ray Burke, whose careers foundered after they were found to have taken payments from big businessmen.

"Does this sound familiar?" Kenny asked, before quoting Mr Burke`s speech to the Dáil in 1997 where he denied receiving payments.

"I'm taking this opportunity to state unequivocally that I have done nothing illegal, unethical or improper"

"They are the words of Deputy Burke in this house on September 10 1997. Same words, same standards, different application. I thought that this country had moved on from that period. I thought we had moved away from the Haughey era of the 80s, but apparently Fianna Fail resurrects the same old standards in the same old way."

I would like to think that Bertie's apology was sincere but the words of Charlie still echo in my ear, "the most ruthless, the most devious, the most cunning of them all"

That said all the polls show that as far as the country are concerned the prospect of having Ultra Blue Shirt Kenny and Stickieus Maximus Rabbitte in charge is about as popular as a dose of the clap.

I personally believe that this issue has caused Bertie some real harm, not in the short term perhaps but I do feel that he will be got in the long grass of the next election.

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