Monday 16 October 2017

Leaflet reveals Paul Kiely's close ties to Bertie Ahern

Paul Kiely with Bertie Ahern at St Luke's in 2010
Paul Kiely with Bertie Ahern at St Luke's in 2010

Fionnan Sheahan and Niamh Horan

KNOWN as the 'Prince of Darkness' picture, the poster of Bertie Ahern adopting the pose of Rodin's 'The Thinker' on a black background appeared on lampposts across the country during the 1997 general election.

"A young leader for a young country" was the Fianna Fail slogan in the campaign that resulted in Bertie Ahern becoming Taoiseach.

The same photo appeared on campaign leaflets in the Dublin Central constituency for Mr Ahern and his running mate, Marian McGennis.

But the leaflet, courtesy of the Irish Election Literature website, reveals former CRC chief Paul Kiely's close ties to Mr Ahern and political involvement at that stage.

"Issued by Paul Kiely -- Director of Elections," says the note at the foot of the leaflet.

Fianna Fail local party activists say Mr Kiely was never really a party member, more an acolyte of Mr Ahern's who would pop up at election time.

Yet just last month Mr Ahern said Mr Kiely's involvement in his constituency operation, known as the 'Drumcondra Mafia', ended in the 1980s -- a decade before the first of his hat-trick of general election victories as Fianna Fail leader.

"And Paul Kiely, because he was involved in the CRC so long, didn't have the time to be involved with us. I mean, he used to be involved in the Eighties," he said at the time.

Mr Ahern described Mr Kiely as a "good friend of mine".

"But these guys all applied for the jobs. I had nothing to do with them. I never, ever had power to appoint. The only thing I ever did was when I went to support sale-of-work days years ago," he added.

When asked about socialising with any of the CRC board members, Mr Ahern said: "I would not say I had a drink with Paul Kiely . . . I certainly haven't had a drink with him in this calendar year, and this is the end of the year."

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