Sadly not enough time to talk properly about this whole incident, but I’ll quickly throw my 2c into the ring and hopefully return to it in more detail later.
(this post is a bit rushed)
Ahern’s statement on RTÃ‰ News tonight has been an interesting one and I’ve no doubt that opposition offices are currently burning the midnight oil to get as much together on those named by an Taoiseach before tomorrow’s return of an DÃ¡il. Simon has already laid the foundations for these investigations and his run-down should give you an idea of the questions that will arise tomorrow from the opposition.
So far this has been an uncharictaristicly poor performance by Ahern who is usually quite savvy with his public persona; he seemed to be caught off guard with his now infamous “communion money” comment and this attempt to put out the building fire seems to have simply provided his enemies with a bigger arsenal. It’s hard to say how long this issue will play out, the longer the worse for Ahern. It did seem originally that his expected speech would solve most of the outstanding issues but that has not been the case; when does a loan become a gift? How come many of these “friends” got good Government appointed positions after their goodwill and what of the ones that have a somewhat controversial background?
Maman warns the opposition to be cautious tomorrow, something that they have been so far by all accounts. It’s as yet unclear what effect the Bertie speech has had on the wider public, this is something that will become obvious by tomorrow I’m sure. What is already quite clear, however, is that most politico’s aren’t yet convinced on the matter and are still waiting for more.
A few things that you have to watch in the coming days:
Now is the time, if you aren’t doing it already, to keep a close eye on Irishelection.com. The site is sure to be the source of much debate in the coming days and plenty of analysis too.
Tune into an DÃ¡il to see what the opposition have to say, and if Bertie is willing to comment further on the matter.
What has been interesting is the silence from the PD’s. McDowell has been careful not to rush into a major statement, waiting for Ahern to clear things up. He has to balance being the man that works closest with Ahern and Fianna Fail and being the leader of the party that is suppose to keep the senior party in check. If this issue carries on until Friday he will find it far harder to keep quiet.
Finally; I’m probably not the only one to have heard numerous negative stories about Ahern in recent days (unconnected to this issue), something that was before quite uncommon. While everything I’ve heard has been rumour and completely unrepeatable here for obvious reasons it is indicative of an end to the “Teflon Taoiseach” of the past where his ‘man of the people’ image made him above reproach…