Friday 15 December 2017

How Bertie hammered a nail into the Inquiry's coffin

MAKING HIS VIEWS KNOWN: A man protests outside the Banking Inquiry last week.
Photo: Tom Burke
MAKING HIS VIEWS KNOWN: A man protests outside the Banking Inquiry last week. Photo: Tom Burke

Shane Ross

It was box office day at the Banking Inquiry. The biggest fish of all was on the menu. Members of the Inquiry were visibly excited. A few of the TDs had crossed swords with the star witness a few years ago. A good "performance" against Bertie was essential if they were to earn their party stripes. Yet as the Inquiry does not allow bias, they were, strictly speaking, neutral participants in pursuit of the truth. So on Thursday they all left their political baggage at the door of the dungeon. And if you believe that, you believe anything.

Bertie Ahern made monkeys of the TDs and Senators facing him. He made a mockery of the Inquiry itself. He exposed the fiasco of party politicians quizzing a mortal political enemy under the guise of a 'Banking Inquiry'.

Bertie had no friends on the Inquiry. Fianna Fail long ago distanced itself, forcing him to resign his membership following the Mahon Tribunal findings. He could not expect any quarter from Fianna Fail Inquiry members Michael McGrath or Marc MacSharry. Fine Gael and Labour loathe him. Socialist Joe Higgins has history, sparring against Bertie across the Dail floor. Pearse Doherty's Sinn Fein has Fianna Fail in its sights. So there was Bertie, all on his own, fighting a rearguard action against the magnificent 11. The result: a defeat for the 11 Inquiry members and a big loss for the Inquiry itself. The public must be puzzled.

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