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Terry Prone: 'I was out of it on cocaine' is not a very good excuse, Ben...

Ben Dunne was the best thing that happened to Liveline yesterday. There he was, yelling for his file to go to the DPP, bellowing for the right to be taken to court, roaring for someone to come and fling him in prison.

Because he'd been terribly open over that earlier incident with the hooker, the suicide threat and being coked out of his gourd, he may have thought the same approach would work in response to the Moriarty report. It didn't.

He lashed out at Justice Moriarty in such interesting terms that Joe Duffy ended up running around after him with a metaphorical pooper-scooper, nearly killing himself to remove RTE from any libel Ben might decide to utter. "The difference is, we're separate," Joe seemed to be saying, as he tried to draw a line between RTE and the spewing, promiscuous abuse coming out of Ben.

Of course, what Joe Duffy didn't point out was the bleedin' obvious.


The bleedin' obvious about Ben Dunne's repeated claims not to be corrupt, is that, at least at one stage of his life (the stage looked at by the Moriarty Tribunal) he was giving Charlie Haughey and others enormous handouts and spending some of the rest of his fortune on lines of cocaine and line-ups of hookers.

Now, the fact is that if you buy cocaine, here or in the US, you break the law. If you're convicted of having bought cocaine, you're a criminal. But, in addition to breaking the law, anybody who buys cocaine in anything like the amounts Ben bought and consumed it, knows that they are contributing to criminal activity across more than one continent, involving murder, mayhem, bribery and corruption. That's the reality of cocaine use.

Yet yesterday's Liveline had Ben growling in rage at the very possibility of Justice Moriarty seeing him as corrupt. Someone close to Ben Dunne should have grabbed hold of him before he went on Liveline and stopped him.

"Run it past me again, Ben," they should have said. "You're going to go on Joe Duffy's show and tell him you couldn't be corruptly involved with Michael Lowry because a) you were high as a kite on cocaine, b) unhinged because of cocaine and under psychiatric treatment. Right? You're going to confess to having invested a shedload of money in the most corrupt supply chain in the world -- the white stuff -- and then tell Joe, in a fury, that you're not a corrupt man. Right? Ben, you know something? There's a few internal contradictions in that story. It ain't gonna fly, Ben."


Nor did it. Ben lashed on to the airwaves and more or less invited Justice Moriarty to a tea party with Ben's psychiatrist.

So why did he talk to Joe? Because Joe's irresistible, as is the adrenalin rush of radio. Because he could make himself feel better. Because he might persuade a few people to believe him.

And because he could get a plug for the newest branch of his gym chain. Which he did. Even when he's high on fury or coke, Ben is first, last, and always a businessman.

Which, essentially, is what the Moriarty Tribunal found.