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Voting for Bertie

• To be honest, I couldn't give a damn about Bertie Ahern's finances or whether or not he received 'inappropriate' payments from businessmen. This phenomenon, while hardly desirable from elected representatives, is scarcely unique to Ireland.

Well-documented examples have been witnessed in the US, Britain, France, Italy and Germany, for instance, and they only prove, once again, Acton's adage about absolute power corrupting absolutely.

What is more telling about our national psyche is the fact that this superficial glad-hander was elected on three successive occasions by a naive, nouveau riche Irish populace who, in 2006, declared him to be "the most popular Taoiseach ever".

His legacy is tainted by far worse sins and omissions than the trousering of cash from business associates.

His government's spectacular, grossly irresponsible squandering of an unprecedented fiscal surplus while ignoring so much worthwhile social and infrastructural improvement was motivated by only one goal; the desire to see his now discredited party repeatedly re-elected.

The fact that an entranced electorate turned a blind eye to this is a far more damning indictment of both Mr Ahern himself, the Fianna Fail party and the Irish public.

A great many of those now so self-righteously lambasting Mr Ahern would do well to examine their own consciences.

JD Mangan
Stillorgan, Co Dublin

Irish Independent