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House wasn’t bought with a ‘dig-out’... it was a gift

THE tale of Bertie Ahern's modest two-storey house in Griffith Avenue was given an entire chapter of today’s report.

The ex-taoiseach claimed that he bought the house – on Beresford Avenue – through loans and “dig outs” from pals.

And he passionately denied suggestions that a staggering sum of US$45,000 was used to refurbish the property.

Ahern's claims were branded as lies in today's explosive report.

The man who is now under the spotlight told several lies about the house – which he effectively owned at all times.

It found that the house was beneficially owned by Mr Ahern and was not bought by Manchester-based businessman Michael Wall and later sold to him, as was claimed.

A will in Mr Wall's name was found by the tribunal which revealed that the house was effectively a gift from the businessman.

On December 5, 1994, monies were deposited in an account in the name of Celia Larkin to the value of IR£28,772.90.

The payment was not disclosed in Bertie Ahern's sworn Affidavit of Discovery, submitted to the tribunal in 2006.

Mr Ahern has subsequently argued this was “not my money”, but represented a conversion of some £30,000 given to him at his St Luke's constituency office by Mr Wall.

Despite adamantly denying that he ever dealt in dollars, the tribunal found that he contributed US$45,000 towards the refurbishment of the house.

The trouble for Mr Ahern is that the bank branch in question – AIB, Upper O'Connell Street – took in only IR£1,921.53 worth of Sterling on that day, suggesting Ms Larkin could not have been lodging Mr Wall's donation.

Mr Wall bought the house and allowed Mr Ahern to stay there for two years with no “written tenancy agreement”, the Mahon report stated.

Thousands of Euro was spent on renovating the house, which Ahern claimed he still did not own until 1997.

Ahern was not in his home in the quiet residential estate today.