Monday 26 June 2017

Ahern should lose perks over 'silly' TV ad -- FG

Aine Kerr Political Correspondent

FORMER Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is facing calls to have some of his perks and privileges removed because of his "enormously embarrassing" appearance in a television advert.

Fine Gael's Lucinda Creighton said last night Mr Ahern should suffer "some consequence for showing complete contempt for the Office of Taoiseach".

She was echoing calls earlier yesterday from Dr Ed Walsh, the founding president of the University of Limerick.

"I think some retribution should immediately be taken against one Bertie Ahern," Dr Walsh said on RTE. "He should be denied a privilege which he has ... his car should be taken from him because he has been misbehaving.

"Because he's running off and doing silly ads and bringing the country into disrepute and making the country a laughing stock internationally."

Dr Walsh claimed the advertisement was not a "bit of craic". No other former Taoiseach would "dream of doing such an outrageous thing", he said.

The former Taoiseach is entitled to a state-funded garda driver and car, and is also provided with two salaried secretaries on top of his pension.

Mr Ahern, who is still a TD for Dublin Central, provoked outrage last week when he appeared in a cupboard in a TV ad for a Sunday newspaper column.

Embarrassing

Ms Creighton said Mr Ahern's appearance in the advertisement was "enormously embarrassing" for everyone.

"He should absolutely suffer some consequences but I don't know how that can be achieved. I don't know if there is a mechanism to single one Taoiseach out over another," she added.

"If it is possible to have certain perks withdrawn from him, I'd be supportive of that."

Her party colleague James Reilly, previously claimed former Taoisigh are given a car and a considerable pension so they don't have to engage in "this sort of thing".

Fine Gael also criticised the decision of junior minister Darragh Calleary to use the government jet last week to travel to Brussels so he wouldn't miss a Dail vote.

Mr Calleary said he was left with no alternative but to use the jet because of the new pairing arrangements with Fine Gael.

Fine Gael has tightened up on the practice of allowing ministers to miss votes, in exchange for one of its TDs sitting out on the vote.

Irish Independent

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