Galling to see elite parade into Berties's birthday bash

with ANNE CAMPBELL

Published 14/09/2011 | 12:24

Owen Rooney, Knockbridge (Right) chats with Mickey Brannigan on his half size McLaren Road Loco at the Knockbridge Vintage Show.

SOMETIMES IT'S easier to try and forget the mess this country's in. take the advice of some on the radio and not think about the big picture, to just focus on your own life and your own family and not let macro economics get to you.

But last weekend, it was difficult to keep your head down, especially when those around you were losing theirs. I refer, of course, to Bertie Ahern's 60th birthday party at Croke Park on Friday night.

The party, organised by the former Taoiseach's daughters Georgina and Cecilia, highlighted a lot of things that make ordinary people rightly angry. Firstly, what planet are these people living on? Who thought it would be a good idea to have such a public event, in such an iconic place for the man who many people blame for this country being in the terrible state it's in?

It was almost like Bertie was rubbing it in. And he must have known it was going a bit far because not one of the many photographers who staked out Croke Park, was able to get a photo of him. If this was all OK and there was nothing wrong with an auld lad celebrating his 60th, then why did he snake in a side entrance like a crook, not a birthday boy.

Apparently, only two former Fianna Fail ministers came to the shin-dig. And one of them was our own former minister, Dermot Ahern.

Dressed in a red checked shirt and slacks, the Blackrock man was photographed a couple of times going into his former boss's get-together. What on earth made him think that it would be a good idea to go, never mind get your picture taken to ensure that everyone in the country saw you?

It's amazing to think that all of the people who were invited to the party are still part of the Irish elite, where the winds of recession that have swept through this country like a hurricane, have left them untouched.

None of them, Bertie and Dermot included, will ever have to worry about money again. They will hardly bat an eyelid in three months' time when Finance Minister Michael Noonan makes cuts of almost €4 billion that are sure to take even more cash of mine and your pockets.

These aren't self-made men. These are men who have always relied on the ordinary people of Ireland for the roof over their heads and the food in their bellies. And it is the ordinary people of Ireland who continue to pay them thousands of euro a year for the rest of their lives so that they can live in such comfort that most of us can only dream about.

It was galling to see the elite parade into Bertie's party, to salute the man who has helped destroy this country, who left hundreds of thousands on the dole and the rest of us scared stiff of what's going to happen next week and next year.

And I don't want to hear that it wasn't all Bertie's fault, that Fianna Fail helplessly fell prey to the dreadful collapse of world markets. I'll sum it up in two words: bank guarantee. Sometimes it's easier to forget the state the country's in and who's to blame. But sometimes, it's more important to remember who and why, especially when they make it so public and easy.

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